Institute For Excellence In Writing ~ Review

IEW Fix It Grammar Review Book 1 ~ lighthousechristiannc.blogspot

My children are not big fans of grammar. They find it boring and time consuming some days. I confess, I also dislike grammar. Marking words in a sentence, diagramming, and writing research papers. What is the purpose? I haven’t been able to find a grammar program that was fun (if there is such a thing), so we have stuck with the same curriculum for the past eight years.

I was given the opportunity to review Fix It! Grammar from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). We were given Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) student book and teacher’s manual for the review.

Fix It! Grammar is a series of six books that teaches children to apply grammar rules to a writing. Each book is a story where the student works on a sentence a day. At the end of each week, after correcting each sentence, the student correctly writes the sentences into a paragraph. The teaching takes about 15 minutes per day. The two main parts of teaching are learn it and fix it. In the learn it section, the student is taught the parts of speech along with end marks, homophones, and writing symbols (paragraph indent symbol). There are grammar cards included in the student book that help teach what each part of grammar or writing symbol means. You can check out a sample of the teacher’s manual and a sample of the student book on the IEW website. Each book is designed to last a full year.

Each Fix It! Grammar book is recommended for grades 3 and up. The student book cost $15.00 and the teacher manual cost $19.00.

How we used the books:

I started book one with my 7th, 6th, and 4th graders.  I started out each new week by giving them the page of the week we were working on. I explained, especially for my 4th grader, the parts of speech, the end marks, and whatever else they needed to know for the day (nouns, homophones, articles). After I taught the lesson, we worked on the sentence together. I would ask them to read the sentence and tell me what end mark belonged. After they told me, we would look for the parts of speech. Some days, they had to decide which homophone (their, there, they’re) was being used in the sentence. Lastly, there are some bolded words in each sentence. I would ask my children if they knew the definition of the bolded words. If they did not, I would tell them the definition from the book. On day five, they would rewrite the four sentences from the week onto a sheet of notebook paper, putting in the correct homophone and end marks. They also needed to know when to indent and start a new paragraph.

I like they way Fix It! Grammar is laid out. I also liked that each week builds off the previous week by introducing one new part of speech. My children enjoyed using this grammar. My older boys, who do not like grammar very much, really enjoyed this grammar book. They said it helped them to learn the parts of speech better by only doing one a week. My daughter said it was fun because she liked reading the story every week.

I would definitely recommend Fix It! Grammar.

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Menu Plan Monday


Be sure to check out more menu plans at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

I decided on Friday to go through my deep freezer and pantry to see what I had and come up with a menu plan based on what I had. I came up with a two week plan on what I have in my freezer and pantry.

In no particular order, we will be eating the following over the next two weeks:

  • BBQ Chicken
  • Beef Stew or Beef Stroganoff
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Hamburger/Veggie Soup
  • BBQ Pork 
  • Cube Steak with Gravy and Onions
  • Roast Beef (this will last us 2 days)
  • Lasagna
  • Salmon Patties
  • Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli
  • Lentil Tacos
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole
  • Chicken, Rice, Broccoli Casserole
  • Chicken Tacos or Burritos


Verse ~ My Favorite Scripture

I have written a post before about my favorite verse in the Bible. I even offered a free printable.

I just wanted to share with you again my favorite verse:

Isaiah 41:10 ~
"Fear thou not; for  am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (KJV)


U Is for Umbrella

Sigh. I think I have been homeschooling too long when all I can think of for the letter u is "U is for Umbrella." Yes, we used Abeka for kindergarten for three children so far and I am now teaching my three year old using Abeka phonics. So, I will definitely have "U is for Umbrella" on my mind for many years to come.

Since I have "U is for Umbrella" on my mind, I decided to create a free printable to go along with the letter U.

Download the free printable here.


My Student Logbook ~ Review

My Student Logbook Review

My Student Logbook is a company owned by a homeschooling family. My daughter, Charlotte, and I recently had the opportunity to review the dated Sea Life Logbook.  There are several other choices listed on their website.

About My Student Logbook:

The company was started by a homeschooling family who were expecting their seventh child. Mom saw an idea on a blog on how to make your own planner by drawing lines, adding dates, and keeping the checklist sticking out of the book to a spiral bound notebook. After becoming frustrated by messy lines and missing dates, Dad showed Mom how to format what she wanted on the computer. Instead of having the checklist stick out of the book, they decided to have a fold over checklist that lined up with the dates. After mom had it spiral bound, she put it into use. She found that it works great and wanted it to be available to others.

What does My Student Logbook contain?

The beginning pages of the book describe how to easily set up the logbook. It is ready to use in four easy steps. There are three pages that tell you how to create a high school transcript. And finally, there are six pages of checklist pages. You can see in the picture below (top row) these pages that I just listed.

My Student Logbook beginning pages

The middle section of the logbook has, in our case, every week dated from July 28, 2014 to July 26, 2015. You can see in the picture above in the bottom row how the dates and checklist line up.

The back of the logbook has several extra pages for prayers and goals, Bible verses memorized, books read, events, projects, field trips, presentations, and activities, test records, year highlights, and an all about me page. I also tried to include a picture of the outside of the logbook. There is a nice plastic covering before the title page to keep it from tearing. The back also has a nice plastic back. The book is spiral bound and is 8.5 x 11 inches.

My Student Logbook Extra Pages

How we used My Student Logbook:

I decided to use this logbook with my 4th grade daughter. I listed all of her subjects on the checklist. It was very easy to set it up so it folds over to each new week. I listed all of her main subjects, but not in any particular order. We usually start our day with history and go with whatever they want to do next. We don’t have a schedule. We just go with the flow.


In this past week’s activities we had a field trip on Wednesday to the aquarium. I wrote it on there so on Thursday she wouldn’t get confused with checking off her subjects. When you lift up the checklist, you have a notes section. I haven’t used that part yet. We also don’t use the time column since we are not required to keep time for our state.

What we thought:

I love it and my daughter loves it! She loves when she finishes a subject and can mark it off. She is able to see how much she has left for the day. I love that it helps keep her on track. I also love that it is easy to use and keeps her accountable. My daughter said, “I like to use it because it helps me to focus better on my work and seeing what I have to finish for the day.” I am planning on buying two more logbooks for my boys to use. It will help keep them accountable and help keep them on track each day too.

You can watch a video on the product details on the website.

My Student Logbook is available in a dated format (what we reviewed) or undated format. It is available dated from August to July or January to December. The printed version is available for $15.00. They also have a pdf version available. The ideal ages for the logbook is 2nd grade and up.


Menu Plan Monday ~ September 15

I am loving the cooler temperatures in North Carolina. So, this week I have planned some fall dinners for the cooler weather.

Here is what I have planned for our menu this week:

Sunday ~ Roast Beef

Monday ~ Leftover Roast Beef

Tuesday ~ Pork Chops

Wednesday ~ Beef and Bean Burritos

Thursday ~ Chili

Friday ~ Chicken Pot Pie

Saturday ~ Hamburger Steak with Onions and Gray

Check out more menus over at I'm An Organizing Junkie.


The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner ~ Review

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner Review

I was recently given the chance to review The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner from The 7 Minute Life.

About The 7 Minute Life:

This company is a time management and productivity company that was created to help organize your entire life. By using the 7 minute life, you are able to improve your time management, organize your life, and increase your productivity. All you need is just 7 minutes a day.

The planner is designed to help you prioritize, organize, and simplify your work and home.

About The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner:

This planner is 265 pages, spiral bound, and approximately 7 x 9.5 inches. The first pages of the planner tell you how to get started using the planner. There are ten micro-action tasks that you are to do before using the planner. The tasks are as follows:
  1. Unfinished tasks- there is a place to list many unfinished tasks you may have at work and home. As you finish them, you are to check them off the list.
  2. Mental clutter- list any issues in your life and the actions that can help overcome them.
  3. Home repair
  4. Life connections- keep in touch with people
  5. Annual projects and tasks
  6. Your 12 month calendar
  7. The meeting planner- designed to help make meetings more effiecient
  8. Notes pages
  9. The annual exercise progress report
  10. The daily progress report
Next in the planner, there is a section that describes your daily top priority to do list, also known as, 5 before 11.

The first thing after you read about the planner is to prioritize. There is a page with many items listed. You are to check off all the ones that are important to you. They are things like love, friendships, faith, money, time, and honesty. After checking off the ones that are important to you, you are to list the ten most important ones.

Some of the other pages are discovering your purpose, your highest and best, 90 day personal goals, 90 day work goals, financial goals, life goals, 90 calendar worksheets, and monthly calendar at a glance.

How I used The 7 Minute Daily Life Planner:

When I first received the planner, it took me awhile to read through all of the introductory pages. After reading through the pages, I started on the prioritizing part of the planner. Writing down my top ten priorities, setting up some 90 day personal goals, and my 5 before 11 tasks. Finally, I set up the monthly calendars and started using the 2 page daily progress reports.

Here is what the 2 page daily progress report looks like:

It has a place for daily contacts, 5 before 11, 7 minute life connections, unfinished tasks, what I spent ($), a place to check off water intake, appointments, thank you notes, voice mail, and lines for notes. It also has a place to track your hours sleeping, exercising, and reading.

Since I am a homeschool mom, I did not use all of the sections of the progress report. I did track my water and wrote down my 5 before 11 each day. If I spent any money, I would list it in the planner. I used the extra lines for notes for my kids subjects to check them off each day.


What I thought about The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner:

This planner did not work well for me. It was just too much filling out everyday and most categories did not apply to me as a homeschool mom. I do not normally write down all of my tasks to do each day. I like to keep my to do list in my head. I have a routine and it was hard for me to break that routine by taking the time each day to record my progress. I know I could have probably changed up some things that would apply to my life right now, but again, writing down a to do list is just not me.

I did like the water tracker on each of the daily pages. I normally don’t keep track of my water intake, but this helped me to see if I was getting enough water each day. Another page I really liked is the last page of the planner. It is a 12 month exercise progress report. You can check off each day of the month that you exercise.

This planner is a great tool and would certainly be a great help to many people.

The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner is available for $24.95 and is to be used by moms and dads.


Time ~ For A Field Trip

Yesterday, September 10, was homeshcool day at our local aquarium. They allow all homeschoolers to come for the day for free and have several different activities and presentations throughout the day.

We had such a great time. We saw all of the different animals and went to an alligator presentation. My girls did a butterfly craft and we saw them feeding the fish and sharks in the big tank. Right now they also have some animatronic dinosaurs. They make dinosaur noises and move. Two of the dinosaurs spray water at you.

In the next set of pictures, you will see the otter, a snake that had shed his skin, sharks, fish, and a turtle. The turtle is a white (not quite albino) shelled turtle named Nimbus.They found him in his nest on August 11, 2010. You can read more about the story here.

On the way home from the aquarium, we stopped by a local 9/11 memorial.

We had a great time and a great day. We can't wait to go on our next field trip.

PhotobucketThis post is part of  Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday.


Under Drake’s Flag ~ Review

Under Drake's Flag Review

It’s no secret that my children love to listen to audio dramas. I have already done several reviews for audio dramas this past crew year. When Under Drake’s Flag came up for a review opportunity, I was so excited to have the opportunity to review another audio drama. I love them just as much as the kids do.

Heirloom Audio Productions produced Under Drake’s Flag and is in the process of releasing another audio drama that I will tell you about at the end.

Under Drake’s Flag is a Christian audio drama based on the novel by G. A. Henty. This drama takes you on a wonderful adventure with a boy named Ned Hawkshaw. He is given the opportunity to set sail with Sir Francis Drake, one of the greatest sea captains of his time. There is suspense, action, and adventure throughout the drama. Will Ned survive as he fights off the sharks that are attacking him? Will he survive the shipwreck?

Listen to a 60 second summary on the website.

When we received this, I had my three older children (ages 12, 11, and 9) sit down and listen to this story after we had done school work one day. I was only going to play a certain amount each day for them to listen to since this is a two hour long drama, but they couldn’t wait until the next day to listen to the rest. They wanted to know what was going to happen next. We ended up listening to the whole thing in one sitting. It was very interesting and it did not seem like it was two hours long. I also enjoyed listening to this story. My three year old did listen to some of the story, but she would go in and out of the room during the story. She doesn’t quite have the attention span needed to listen to this just yet.  My boys loved this story. My eight year old daughter also enjoyed listening to the story and said she found it exciting. The quality of this production is outstanding.

The 2 CD set comes with a small study guide. Each set of questions has three parts- listening well, thinking further, and defining words. We also received a downloadable pdf study guide which has a lot more questions for each section. You can see the differences below. The one on the left is the small study guide that comes with the CD set and the one on the right is the extended PDF study guide. Click the pictures to make them bigger.

drakes flag small study guide  drakes flag pdf

Another look at the differences in the study guides. The first one is the physical study guide that comes with the CD set. The bottom one is the PDF study guide.

drakes flag small study guide2

drakes flag pdf2

We used both of the study guides. After we finished listening to the CD’s, I asked them several of the questions from each section. Sometimes I asked them one or two from the small study guide and sometimes I asked them five or more from the pdf study guide. We also went over some of the defining words from each section.

The two CD set is appropriate for ages 6 and up. The CD set sells for $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping.

And now for the news on Heirloom Audio Productions next project. In Freedom’s Cause is the newest production due out this fall. You can keep up with all updates to the newest production on the website or through their Facebook page. You can also connect with them on the Under Drake’s Flag Facebook page.



September is one of my favorite months of the year. It's my birthday month. It also means cooler temperatures are on the way and the leaves will start changing colors and fall off the trees. Living in North Carolina for the past 16 years has been wonderful. we get to experience the four seasons (for the most part). We do have hot and humid summers, but we can also have mild summers. We do have mild winters, but can also have a winter where it snows a lot.

I also like September because I can start making pumpkin breads and pies. :)

I love going to the fair on cool autumn days and nights.

Check out last years autumn post here for a pumpkin cheesecake recipe.

And my autumn post from 2012 can be found here.



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