Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spelling City

I posted, earlier this month, about using Spelling City for our spelling and vocabulary work this school year.

I have to say, I love the program. I can input my own lists, which is wonderful. I select Haydn's vocabulary words based on the books we are reading and what subjects he is studying, etc. But, there are also pre-made lists to choose from. I have actually been using the highest level lists to practice and improve my own vocabulary. I like words, and I love learning new words. It's fun.

The program is simple to use. I had no trouble setting up my account, adding students, or making assignments. I especially love being able to make assignments and set due dates, etc... It gives Haydn structure when he logs on, instead of him simply playing the same game over and over or accidentally selecting the wrong list.

Haydn isn't a fan of the Hang Mouse game or Letter Fall, but he loves doing the word searches and crosswords, and he enjoys Word-O-Rama. He is doing really well, so far. He's been acing his vocabulary tests (except for the word "vain," which he cannot seem to remember the definition for ever). We had an issue with last week's spelling test, because he had caps lock on by mistake. It counted everything wrong. But, I was able to simply grade the test myself. I also could have assigned a re-test.

One of my favorite features would be the pre-made vocabulary lists based on books. I've been quizzing myself on Pride and Prejudice vocabulary. And I can input my younger son's lists from his public school classroom when he wants to study that way.

Overall, we're happy with Spelling City. I plan to use it all year and will most likely renew our membership for sixth grade as well.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Poem: Herod's House

Did she think for even a moment
that death for John would mean
freedom for her sinning soul?
Did she think people
all over the four corners
of the kingdom would simply

Poor fumbling and desperate
Herodius, marrying her uncle
twice, I have to believe
her mind wasn't quite perfect
in its workings, neurons not
firing on all their cylinders,
but her instinct for self-protection
results in another man's

Sweet, beautiful, dancing daughter,
happy to be admired,
grateful for the chance
to please her mother,
chained, as she was, to
a life she did not choose,
left only with a mother and this
father king, not
her own.

Herod on his throne, attempting
to live on both sides
of the law, to balance on the skirting wall,
to honor both sides 
of his own heart, but he
did as the stepchild asked,
to please her and to please 
her mother.

Oh what a wicked
family tree, sending roots out 
in search of a truth they were unwilling
to drink, lifting branches dry
to the stormy sky, certain
that their limbs were never going
to break.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Writing Buddy

This is what my cat does while I'm slaving away on edits and revisions...

He was, at least, curled up with a good book. ;)

This is cat-speak for, "Quit with the flash already; I'm trying to sleep here."

Well, I got a lot accomplished today. Not so sure about Hocus.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Poem: Micah

Oh Micah, who stole the silver,
what have you stolen from me?
Tears and moments and days
spent feeling so hopeless and alone.
You've taken so much from
the very heart of me, but I
will keep on giving these things.
I make you not a thief when I
give myself willingly.
Oh, but Micah, who stole the silver,
will you also bring it back
one day, to me?


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Currently: 30 Days Has September

Current Books: I was enjoying Our Lady of the Forest while we were at the beach, but once we made it home, I couldn't concentrate on it any longer. The writing is quite beautiful but my mind was shoved full. So, I shelved it for a bit. I'm reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and a couple of writing books. I'm about to start a journey group and will be reading all kinds of C S Lewis for that. Haydn and I are plowing through From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. We just finished a biography of Phyllis Wheatley. The homeschool book club I lead once a week is reading Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the car, we're listening to Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer.

Current Playlist: I've been listening to my Tornado playlist, the one filled with songs that somehow put me in the mind of Callie Jones. A few songs from this list: "Losing my Religion," by R.E.M., "Center Aisle," by Caedmon's Call, "Volcano Girls," by Veruca Salt, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," by Death Cab for Cutie

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: I bought a bag of soft batch cookies today.

Current Colors: jewel tones

Current Fetish: Illustrating the Psalms in my art journal

Current Food: Leftovers. We brought home food from church and from a family event, so we've lived on those this week.

Current Drink: Coffee with Truvia and yummy creamer

Current Favorite Favorite: The homeschool ladies I hang with on Fridays

Current Wishlist: A vehicle with 3rd-row seating, a new fall wardrobe, silent retreat in solitude, time with my best friends, bright comfy sneakers, my nose repierced, noise-canceling headphones, and more, because lately I am a bottomless pit of wishful thinking.

Current Needs: More dental work, a new downstairs bathroom, infinite patience and compassion

Current Triumph: Overcoming my fear of revision and turning Tornado into a whole new book.

Current Bane-of-my-Existence: Never being really alone. My introverted self is desperate for solitude. Even inside my own head, I do not feel truly alone right now.

Current Indulgence: I've been sending myself to my bedroom to get work done.

Current Mood: tense.

Current #1 Blessing: Our church family, the youth parents who take such good care of us... We are blessed to see community at work everyday.

Current Outfit: black yoga pants, Anytime Fitness t-shirt

Current Link: We began using Spelling City this week, and we love it so far.

Current Quote“A nasty letter or a sarcastic one can make you righteously angry, but what can you do about a polite letter of rejection? Nothing, really, except cry.” 
― E.L. KonigsburgFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

Current Photo: My nephew, Tyrus

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Poem: Philip

The early church was probably
appalled when Philip told
how he baptized a eunuch.
According to The Law, the rules
that fill up our Old Testament,
eunuchs had no chance, no hope
for salvation, but Philip
studied scripture with this man.
Philip opened up The Word
and illustrated Jesus, his
sacrifice, his resurrection, his
hope for the hopeless, but we
keep right on closing doors, and
declaring men unclean. Who
do we think we are, picking and
choosing the souls we let inside?
We are nothing better than him,
a man we judge as lost, as
living a sinful life that shows,
a woman's peeking slip, while we
can tuck our wrongs away, hide them
beneath our clothes and pretend
that we are clean.

But Philip obeyed Christ and Christ
welcomes all with open arms.


Click Here for Scripture

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Felicities: Sept 7

Friday Felicities

The co-op ladies, who always make me laugh and feel 100 times lighter
Wearing my new red shirt
Honey dijon almonds
Playing with words
Owl talk at the library
Knowing I am not alone


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spelling City

I've been given a premium membership to for a candid, personal, online review.

VocabularySpellingCity helps students study word lists using 25 different learning activities such as Word Search,HangmanWordFind, and Crossword Puzzle.  Parents can create their own spelling lists, find published lists already available on the site, or use any of dozens of  free teaching resources on topics such as Compound Wordsand Multiple Meaning Words.  Be sure to come back in three weeks to read about my experience.

There might be more free memberships available for bloggers.  If you're interested, find out how you can review

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