Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review of a Product by Roman Roads Media

Roman Roads Media is a curriculum publishing company specializing in online classical education. As a Homeschool Review Crew member, I was given access to one of their online vocabulary building subscriptions. My teen daughter and I have both been working our way through basic Latin vocabulary words of the natural world using the subscription called Picta Dicta Natural World.

Picta Dicta Natural World

Picta Dicta teaches natural world Latin words.

Picta Dicta Natural World takes the student through a series of vocabulary lessons, first introducing the Latin word with pictures. The English terms for the objects aren't presented in the early lessons. The presentation of the Latin terms directly eliminates a student's tendency to translate from one language to the other. Instead it develops an associating of the Latin term directly with the item pictured. English terms are reviewed later in the lessons but not in the early first lessons.

Systematically presented, the lessons incorporate the use of several different learning modalities, including visual, auditory and story with information about word origin. The lessons also include the expectation that a student will pronounce and also spell the Latin terms themselves to move on to increased vocabulary. The lessons are user responsive and repetition of terms not yet memorized is presented until the student gets it. The vocabulary units described as "campaigns" are presented in related categories. Large animals, fruits, plants, anatomy and geographical land forms are all topics that are covered incrementally through the course.

Through the family account each teacher/parent has access to monitor each student's progress. The parent/teacher is also able to have a seat as a student for their own Latin vocabulary learning. With short sessions three to four times per week my daughter and I have both been able to move through the categories fairly quickly with sufficient retention of the terms. The program saves any progress even if interrupted in the middle of a lesson.

My interest in having my daughter use this subscription came from my understanding of how much even some basic understanding of Latin terms can be applied to the study of other subjects and pertinent to her current plans, in providing information and clues in test taking for completing high school requirements and SAT/ACT testing. Many years ago, my own ACT test scores, especially in science, were enhanced by a weekly Latin spelling test given in a high school physiology class. By exposure to the basics in this course, I expect her learning of  Latin vocabulary through the Picta Dicta Natural World program will do the same for her.

Classical curriculum materials beginning through advanced are available.

Malum, anyone?
Roman Roads Media has several of these Latin vocabulary courses but they are only the beginning of what Roman Roads Media has to offer. They are a publishing company that provides an extensive line of resources for classical study for use in home education. Their stated goals include making high quality classical Christian education accessible to homeschooling families to inspire students and impart wisdom. Their resources cover the humanities, logic, rhetoric and history from a classical Christian perspective. A family wanting their high school age students to have a classically based education would do well to use Roman Roads Media teaching materials. They offer many hard copy and online materials. Live lectures are also a part of the teaching curriculum available. The live classes presented by expert teachers are closed for the 2018/2019 school year but definitely worth considering in your future homeschooling curriculum. However, in the meantime, the resources offered by Roman Roads Media are extensive and could easily cover much of a high school course load.

Beginning with basic Latin vocabulary is a great place to start with younger students, any students just being introduced to Latin or like me wanting a review of previously learned terms. Delightedly, in some categories and embarrassingly so in others Picta Dicta Natural World has jogged my learning memory of Latin terms. My teen has progressed as quickly despite this being her first coordinated exposure to Latin vocabulary. I am glad we had the opportunity to use and discover more about this publishing company.

There are parent resources, too. Are you up for a challenge?

An additional  resource directed at parents that looks interesting, extensive (and challenging) to me is their Great Books challenge for parents. Still open, registration is required for the 2018/2019 school year parent's challenge. Parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents completing the challenge will earn a unit of free curriculum. The cost of these materials doesn't look prohibitive, especially given the breadth of what is offered. Clearly, they take their mission to impart wisdom seriously and produce high quality online instruction.

You can find them at:
and also on social media at:
youtube: @romanroadsmediaYouTube
or by clicking the banner below.
Roman Roads Media
To read more reviews from Homeschool Review Crew members, click on the banner below.
Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Review of GrammarPlanet - An Online Grammar Curriculum

As a Homeschool Review Crew participant, I was given access to GrammarPlanet's online curriculum to use with my daughter and to review. It is an comprehensive, interactive online grammar curriculum. GrammarPlanet was created by language arts teachers, Erin Karl and Jerry Bailey. Using their expertise in grammar, they have produced an online program for use by anyone wanting to improve their English skills. The lessons cover all parts of speech and punctuation. The extensive outline of material covered is available here: GrammarPlanet Unit Outline. They offer a paid version and a free version that is supported by advertising. Fortunately, we were able to utilize the paid version but the info regarding the advertising supported access says that there is nothing inappropriate for families in the ad supported version. 

A video lecture begins each lesson. Each lecture presents a part of speech clearly and completely. Lecture notes for printing, to read along and refer to, accompany each lesson. They are easy to understand, useful for learning and helpful preparation before each practice session.

GrammarPlanet lecture presentation shown here on the screen.
Printed lesson notes for reference shown on the green paper.
Printed lessons
accompany lessons.

Each component of speech is presented systematically to build upon the previously presented and understood components.  A student really can't rush through without understanding the material that is meant to help them understand the structure of the English language. There is a significant amount of critical thinking necessary to move through the program with options to review and insure adequate understanding.

The practice series are user friendly and require an understanding of the material to progress through to each new level. A series of practice sessions must be completed with an acceptable score before the student is allowed by the program to move on to the next lesson. This insures that the student has an adequate understanding of each part of speech and is able to build on the knowledge acquired while moving through the program. 

A parent/teacher can reset a unit for the student to redo or unlock for a student to move on to the next set of lessons if needed. Each unit is completed with a test to access comprehension. Test scores are saved in student progress reports available to the parent/teacher through the teacher account.

We had some difficulty in our initial set up for using the program. Due to the separation of student and teacher accounts and my own lack of intuitive use of computers, I found it confusing to login the first times we attempted to view lectures and practice the lessons. However, assistance was readily available. Answers to my emailed questions were answered quickly and patiently. I'd give GrammarPlanet an A+ for their costumer service.

An unexpected and wonderful result of working through this with my daughter is my own newly increased appreciation and excitement about the study of grammar. The lessons are presented clearly and with enthusiasm for the importance of understanding the structure of the English language. The materials are definitely comprehensive. The lessons, practice and testing have added value to my daughter's current study of English. They are providing a review of basic grammar, potential improvements in her writing and practice in preparation for more extensive test taking this year.

You can read more reviews of GrammarPlanet from the Homeschool Review Crew by clicking the image below.
Grammar Program Online {GrammarPlannet Reviews}

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thankful Thursday

Since the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I have been thankful for the opportunity. This year I am especially grateful given that is our last to homeschool. Today's post is a post in pictures of just a few of the experiences and opportunities our kids have had and we have enjoyed as a family over the last few years. Many of the opportunities that have presented themselves have not necessarily been because we were homeschooling. However, many of the activities were ones that we participated in because we could create a schedule to fit our priorities. Time together has always been high on the list. We joined in activities that would have taken away too much family time had we not been homeschooling. Family time and individual pursuits have been given a chance over the years. Below are just some of my photographs of how we have spent time enjoying days together.

More Thankful Thursday posts of gratitude can be found at the Back to School Blog Hop hosted by Homeschool Review Crew. Have a look and be inspired!

 Read more.
Read more from thankful homeschool bloggers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Working In Work - for Working It In Wednesday

Two parent families, living on one income, are not the norm in our local community. A family of five, like ours, living on one income in the Chicago-land area can severely limit a family's financial resources. My husband and I made the choice for me to be an at home mom long before we even considered homeschooling. Once we headed down that road, a second parent income became less likely. I have heard comments from other moms about what a luxury it is to be with one's children on a daily basis. Others say they couldn't do it. Sometimes, I reply that it is a sacrifice we have made more that a luxury.

As parents, I think we all have the inclination to provide as much as possible for our children, both the needs and the wants. The clothes, toys or technology they want, the very best education and opportunities are a constant consideration and temptation. Our own desires, plus the pressure of seeing what is available to others can be a serious distraction from our own determined goals and priorities. The choice to live on only my husband's income has limited our our ability to give into every request. I have come to view that limitation as a blessing. By the fact of our financial limitations, we have had to teach our children more about setting goals, the value of resources, work and earning some of their own money.

Being home schooled has provided my children with the opportunity to do their academic subjects, pursue extra curriculum interests plus take on small jobs in our community to earn their own money. Being available during daytime hours has made small local jobs more accessible and doable. For example, a small weekly newspaper is provided free to residents. At one time it was delivered door to door by local teens. That newspaper delivery job was our oldest son's first job. It was the vehicle that taught him how a job well done can lead to more lucrative opportunities. He was asked by his newspaper costumers to do small jobs of yard work, snow shoveling and dog walking in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the delivery service was ended by the newspaper just about the time our oldest son was ready to hand the job down, to his younger brother. Fortunately, that was after our younger son had at least been able to assist with that weekly endeavor. The small jobs of babysitting, dog walking, pet care and yard work that came from connections made in the neighborhood, while delivering newspapers, were still options for each of them to do.

The skills they have acquired pursuing extracurricular activities have also provided them with opportunities to work. Our second son assists with training and coaching of younger baseball players on a travel team. Our daughter coaches at a gym teaching basic gymnastic skills to little ones.

If we had been a two income family, it may have been easier to simply hand our children the extras they wanted, but they have learned so much because we weren't able to or didn't. That wonderful new baseball bat, pair of shoes or outfit isn't nearly as desirable if it has to be purchased with one's own hard earned money. The ability to work in opportunities for actual paid work, for each of our home schooled children has been one of the benefits of choosing a one income, homeschooling family lifestyle. My Work It In Wednesday Homeschool Encouragement is the recognition that more opportunities for our young people to contribute increases their financial resources and their understanding of work.