Sunday, August 20, 2017

Celebrate St. Rose of Lima's Feast Day



August 23 is the optional Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, the first canonized saint of the Western Hemisphere and the saint whose name a local church bears.  Thus, I plan to sprinkle our week with faith, food, and learning that relates to St. Rose of Lima.

As I brainstorm some S.K.I.L.L. T.I.M.E + activities and a simple feast day meal, I thought I'd share them in case you, too, would like to weave saint-based learning, food, and fun into your week.



Saint Rose of Lima S.K.I.L.L. T.I.M.E + Ideas 


{Disclosure:  Some of the links which follow are affiliate ones.}


S - Spell and Learn Words  

My daughter always cheers when we play our spelling word game, so, we'll likely write "Saint Rose of Lima" on mini-white boards and then try to create as many words as we can from the letters within the saints' names within three minutes.  Before beginning our timer, we'll recall that every word has to have a vowel in it and, then, suss out what vowels (and r-controlled vowels) we could use in our words, such as:

/ă/ a
/ā/ a, ai, ea, ei
/ä/ a
/ĕ/ e, ea
/ē/ e, ea, ei, i, ie
/ĭ/ i
/ī/ i, ei
/ŏ/ o
/ō/ o, oa, oe, oo
/ö/ o, oo, oe
/ŭ/ u, ou
/ū/ u
/ü/ u, oo
/oi/ oi
/ow/ ou

Plus, the R-controlled vowels ER, IR,  EAR, AR, and OR.

 
We'll also look for consonant blends might help us form words (like fl, fr, sl, sm, sn, st, and str.) and, perhaps, recall some quick reminders of strategies:

  • thinking of rhyming words (i.e. "sat", "rat", and "slat")
  • using plural "s" or "es" and 3rd person singular verb "s" or "es" (such as "lot", "lots", "tan" and "tans")
  • finding as many words as possible from just one word in the name before moving onto the next (as in finding "a", "an", "tan", "tans", "I", "is", "as", ""in", "sin", "tin", "tins", "it", "nit", "sit", "its", "nits", "ant", "ants", "at", "sat", "nat" and "nats" in "saint" before adding the letters in the word "Rose" to add, "art", "rain", "sane" and so forth)

From, there, it will be time to set our timer, find words, write them down, then compare them with each other when the timer goes off.

K - Keep Reading to Yourself

 

The children, as always, will be able to choose their own reading for "Read to Self" time, including the following saint day selections which I will pull from our home library as well as order from our public library:

 
http://amzn.to/2ijCq3T
"St. Rose of Lima" Saints and Angels by Claire Llewellyn


http://amzn.to/2ijumzV

"St. Rose of Lima" in Lives of the Saints: An Illustrated History for Children by Bart Tesoriero
http://amzn.to/2wnSAz5

"Saint Rose of Lima" in More Saints: Lives and Illuminations by Ruth Sanderson


https://www.amazon.com/His-Likeness-Reverend-Charles-Yost/dp/B0044PJA76/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1499053377&sr=8-2&keywords=in+his+likeness+yost&linkCode=ll1&tag=traihapphear-20&linkId=2ebe10380eac9f63deb605a0f9622f0b
"Saint Rose of Lima" in In His Likeness



I would love other recommendations of Saint Rose of Lima reads, too, if you have any.



I - Illustrate and Write

For copywork/studied dictation the children may choose from any of these quotes from St. Rose of Lima's writing:



"The gift of grace increases as the struggles increases."
"If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men."

"Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart."

"Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven."

"Let men take care not to stray and be deceived."
 
We might also write brief narrations about St. Rose of Lima's life, and, since she took special care of the poor and is patron to the Philippines, we may also write to a child we sponsor in the Philippines.



L - Listen to Reading

This week, we will begin reading Saint Rose of Lima together.



http://amzn.to/2vRknqm







If you don't have access to any books that include Saint Rose of Lima in them, you might simply read one of the following online pieces:




  • Saint Rose of Lima, which includes the reflection:
    It is easy to dismiss excessive penances of the saints as the expression of a certain culture or temperament. But a woman wearing a crown of thorns may at least prod our consciences. We enjoy the most comfort-oriented life in human history. We eat too much, drink too much, use a million gadgets, fill our eyes and ears with everything imaginable. Commerce thrives on creating useless needs on which to spend our money. It seems that when we have become most like slaves, there is the greatest talk of “freedom.” Are we willing to discipline ourselves in such an atmosphere?




  • Saint Rose of Lima, which has biographies for young families, practiced families, and experienced families.


 
L -Learn and Play with One Another Using Language Arts

Among St. Rose of Lima's symbols are:

  • a crown of thorns and roses (symbolizing her purity and beauty and the penances she underwent) 
  • a needle and thimble (significant because Saint Rose of Lima worked as a lace maker to help support her family and is patron of embroiderers and needle workers)
  • a spiked crown (again, for St. Rose of Lima's suffering)
  • an iron chain (because it is said she whipped herself with one as a voluntary penance)
  • roses (which represent holiness and purity)
  • an anchor (which represents steadfast faith in the face of great suffering)
  • the Holy Infant (because she had a great devotion to the Holy Infant and His Blessed Mother)

We might see how many of these symbols we can include in collectively written silly stories or more serious prayers.




T - Think, Read and Write About Math

After reading St. Rose's biography, I may challenge the children with such story problems as:

  • St. Rose of Lima was born April 20, 1586 and is said to have begun strong devotions at five years old.  In what year did her strong devotions begin?
  • St. Rose of Lima died on August 24, 1617.  How old was she when she passed?
  • St. Rose of Lima was beatified 50 years after her death.  In what year did Pope Clement Ix beatify her?
  • She was canonized by Pope Clement X four years later.  What year was that?

 
I - Investigate and Problem Solve with Math


It is said, that, St. Rose of Lima and "and her brother Ferdinand built a tiny hermitage in her father's garden. She planned to live there. It was so small that her mother protested. 'It is big enough for Jesus and myself,' said Rose. Here, for the remainder of her life, she was to spend all of her days and part of her nights in contemplation, performing the penances which she devised to punish herself for the sins of the world."

As a challenge, using Brain Builders, a doll figurine (to represent St. Lima, and a Jesus figurine, I may challenge my children to build tiny hermitage models.

Thinking of St. Rose of Lima's quote, "
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven," I may challenge them to build a ladder-like form or tower that has crosses in it and can reach as high as possible toward the heavens.



https://www.amazon.com/MindWare-66009-KEVA-Brain-Builders/dp/B00IECWX5G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=traihapphear-20&linkId=f10582afe6c473bf312723023bc776dd


M - Master Math Skills Together

 
St. Rose of Lima died at the young age of 31.  Thus, we may use this number and our Cuisenaire Rods to review and practice math concepts together, such as:


  • Is 31 even or odd?  Prove it using rods.
  • How many ways can you make the number 31 using rods?  What addition facts do these bring to mind?
  • What are factors? (Numbers you multiply together to get another number.) So, what are the factors of  31? (1, 31)
  • What is a prime number?  (A number that can only be divided evenly by one.)  Is 31 a prime number?

E - Exercise Math Skills on My Own


In 31 short years, St. Rose of Lima offered much to our Lord.  With this number in mind, I will challenge my children to use all four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, create 31 math problems that equal 31.


+ Extra Learning and Fun


  • Virtues:  We will likely discuss temperance, fortitude, justice, and prudence in relation to St. Rose of Lima. Also, since she was charitable providing for the physical needs of the poor, the sick, orphans, and the elderly, we may chat about how we might serve such people this week, too.
     
  • Handiwork:  Among other peoples, St. Rose of Lima is patron of embroiderers and florists.  We may try our hand at some embroidery, sewing, or flower arranging.

  • Practical Life:  St. Rose of Lima is also patron of gardeners, so it will be a perfect time to take care of some overdue garden chores.
  • Food Fun:  We will likely have a meal or snack of "roses".  We may use GFCF tortilla wraps to try out something similar to these tortilla roses, or I might have the kids experiment with making rose shapes from GFCF bread slices rolled out.  Alternately, I might just serve bread with some other rose-shaped food, maybe having the kids get fancy cutting strawberry roses. (I know I won't make mini apple rose pies this year, but want to save the idea for the future!)  

  •  Herb Tasting:  St. Rose of Lima is said to have fasted on bread crusts and bitter herbs at times.  Remembering this, we may have an herb tasting, seeing which herbs in our garden - or at the farm we go to - taste the most bitter.
  • Nature Study and Poetry:  In Mysteries, Marvels and Miracles: In the Lives of the Saints, you can read about how Saint Rose of Lima sang with the birds.  Thus, we may go on a nature walk to spy birds and listen to their song.  We may also study the words of St. Rose of Lima's song as poetry:
 Tiny singer, flit your wings;
Bow before the King of kings.
Let your lovely concert rise
To Him Who gave you songs and skies.
Let your throat, full of carols sweet,
Pour them before the Eternal's feet
That we His praise may magnify
Whom birds and angels glorify.
I shall sing to Him who saved me:
You will sing to Him who made ye.
Both together, we shall bless
The God of love and happiness.
Sing, sing with bursting throat and heart!
In turn our voices will take part
To sing together, you and I,
A canticle of holy joy.
{As the bird flew away:}
The little bird abandons me:
My playmate's wings ascend.
Blessed be my God,
Who faithfully Stays with me to the end.
 
  • Art Study:  We may examine paintings of St.Rose of Lima pictured saint books or online, noticing details, color palettes, what we like, etc.  Alternately, as it is said that St. Rose of Lima was drawn to stare at a picture  Christ crowned with thorns, we may study an artwork depiction of Christ like this.

  • Geography:  Of course, we will find Peru on maps and globes.

Of course, pending how the week unfolds, some of these ideas may not come to fruition this year and others may pop up, but any which way, with these ideas gathered in one place, we'll be able to dive into St. Rose of Lima faith, food, and fun for years to come. t

As always, I would love to hear your favorite resources, traditions, recipes, and ideas related to St. Rose of Lima as well. 




St. Rose of Lima, pray for us.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Get a FREE St. Maximilian Kolbe Nature Scavenger Hunt Printable!





Last year, I shared 4+ Sensory-Smart Ways to Learn about St. Maximilian Kolbe and mentioned an idea for a scavenger hunt that I had after reading about the symbolism of the reliquary used for the St. Maximilian Kolbe relics my children and I were able to venerate



{Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}
 
This year, I thought I would create a new FREE St. Maximilian Kolbe Nature Scavenger Hunt printable based mostly on St. Maximilian Kolbe's life as told in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints, which I plan to reread to my children before going on our nature walk.  



In case you do not have time to get the book, however, I included a page of discussion points with the scavenger hunt so that you can easily retell parts of St. Maximilian's story on your own:


  • Japanese knotweed: Father Maximilian started a Catholic magazine and newspaper that reached hundreds of thousands of people in just a few years. He, then, traveled to Japan to start another even though he spoke no Japanese.   (If you do not have Japanese knotweed in your area, just cross this one out and put something else that might remind children of Japan or the far east in this box.  Something hair-like: Fr. Maximilian grew a long beard before traveling as a missionary to Japan as a long beard was respected there at the time. Later, he has his beard shaved off and some of hi whiskers are now included in reliquaries.
  • Something with thorns: In 1939, Nazi invaded Poland and began a thorny occupation. Because Fr. Maximilian was an outspoken priest, the Nazis wanted to shut down his popular magazines. So, they arrested and imprisoned him briefly in 1939. Then, in 1941, they arrested him again and sent him to Auschwitz in Poland, where he became prisoner # 16670 and later died. 
  • Something blue or white: In prison, Fr. Maximilian wore a blue and white uniform and lived in a large, cold building where he slept on a board.
  • A boulder: Fr. Maximilian was forced to do hard – and sometimes horrifying - work, like carrying boulders, moving large trees, and carrying dead bodies to ovens where they would be burned. 
  • A fallen tree: Fr. Maximilian was starved and beaten in prison. Once, a guard strapped a plank to Maximilian’s back and made to run. When he collapsed, he was kicked and whipped. 
  • Something lovely: Despite hardships, Fr. Maximilian never stopped loving God or others. He persisted in prayer through sad, desperate situations and tried to help other prisoners.
  • Ten of something: When a prisoner escaped, Nazi prison guards decided other prisoners would be punished to discourage other escape, so they selected 10 prisoners who would be starved to death. 
  • Something red or white: One of the prisoners cried out, “My poor wife and children! I will never see them again,” whereupon Fr. Maximilian said, “I would like to take the place of Sergeant Gajowniczek.” So, Fr. Maximilian and nine others were taken to a cell to starve to death. After several weeks, only four men – including Fr. Maximilian – remained alive. At this point, the Nazis gave them injections to kill them. Fr. Maximilian died on August 14, 1941 at age 47, a martyr pure in his love for God. This fulfilled a promise he had made Our Lady when he had a dream as a child in which she held out a red crown and a white one to him, asking him if he was willing to accept either of the crowns – the white one meaning he should persevere in purity and the red that he should become a martyr. He said he’d accept both. 
  • Saint Maximilian (free space): When Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was canonized a saint in 1982, an elderly Sergeant Goajowniczek, his wife, and his children were present in St. Peter’s Square. God’s love – as shown through St. Maximilian Kolbe – had saved his life. St. Maximilian put love before even his own life.

Also, as you can see in the discussion points, I have included an alternative for Japanese knotweed in case you don't have any in your area.  In the FREE printable pdf, there is a second scavenger hunt sheet with this alternative on it.

In the boxes on the scavenger hunt, children can make a sketch or write a verbal description of what they found.  You can see my Saint Anthony Nature Scavenger Hunt post to get a visual of how they might work.



More Liturgical Celebration Ideas for This Week


Click through any of the images or text below for my ideas and inspiration about St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Assumption of Our Lady (which is August 15.)




http://traininghappyhearts.blogspot.com/2017/08/celebrate-assumption-of-mary-with-food.html



http://traininghappyhearts.blogspot.com/2015/08/plan-for-assumption-day-playdate-round.html

I'd love to see snapshots of your nature walk if you go on one.  I also welcome your ideas for living the liturgical year with children.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It Really Is Non-Nonsense Algebra {a Review}


My oldest son likes to learn math independently in short stints of 15-20 minutes, preferably online.  I like to check in on his learning, preferably offscreen.  Thus, when I saw No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials, I thought, Perfect!  (Or almost perfect.)  The online portion of the program could appeal to my son and an offline paper portion appeals to me(He might not be 100% ready for full-on Algebra, but he definitely could stretch with pre-Algebra, and may even roll right into the rest without problems.  So it was that I opted to review this high-school level Math course with my just-entering middle school son.

What Makes the Program Helpful?
 

No-Nonsense Algebra consists of a 275-page softcover book and a corresponding series of video lessons taught by Richard W. Fisher (which can be accessed using a code in the book.) 

Each lesson is:


  • concise (so math lessons need not drag on on any given day)
  • self-contained (so students who struggle with particular concepts can bone up on those specific topics without having to do every lesson in the book)
  • inclusive of helpful hints, clear examples, exercises for practice, and exercises for review (so mastery happens)
  • explained both in writing and through video lessons (which helps reach students with different learning styles, or, in the case of my family, helps reach paper-loving Mom and screen-loving son)

Chapter Reviews and a Final Review are also included in the book, as are helpful extras, which include:

  • solutions for all problems  (so student can self-check their work)
  • a glossary (which is handy for students who have not internalized "math speak")
  • a list of important formulas (which helps Moms like me who have not done Algebra in ages, and, of course, helps students, too)
  • a list of important symbols (which is, again, handy for those who confuse or have forgotten math-related symbols)
  • tables for multiplication, commonly used prime number, squares and square roots, and fraction/decimal equivalents (which are super handy for children who struggle to recall facts and figures)

Truly, I am impressed with how complete and concise
No-Nonsense Algebra is.  The program lives up to its name by offering a way for students to achieve math mastery without having to wade through fluff and distractions - and without Mom or Dad having to do much 1:1 teaching.

How Did We Use It?
 

Of course, when using No-Nonsense Algebra with students below high school level, sitting down 1:1 can be helpful, so that is what my son and I did when we first cracked open No-Nonsense Algebra.  Or rather, we sat down 3:1, for, when I sat down with my oldest to complete Lesson 1-1 together, my two younger children decided to join us.  They were curious about the video lesson.  So, I capitalized on the moment,  had all three children grab paper, and completed that first No-Nonsense Algebra lesson together. 

To my surprise, even my seven year old met with success when adding integers during Lesson 1-1.  Honestly, I did not think he would be able to do it, but, he was interested, and, as the lesson progressed, he quickly caught on to the rules of how to add positive and negative numbers,  So did my 10-year-old daughter.  Lessons are that clear!

Thus, the following day, out of curiosity, I suggested that we all sit down together again to study Algebra.  As we completed Lesson 1-2 on Subtracting Integers, my seven year old lost interest, which I was completely okay with, for this program is a high school program and my 7-year-old is just a typical child - not a math savant. 

I thought my daughter might also lose interest in joining her big brother and me for Algebra lessons, but, surprisingly, she did not.  Instead, she persisted and happily completed Lesson 1-2 alongside her big brother, even asking me to grade her.  Since we don't typically do grades here, and, since she has been doing math at a much lower grade level than her big brother, I was both amused and impressed by her desire to work through
No-Nonsense Algebra lessons.



Oh, how my daughter beamed knowing she'd just learned some math alongside her big brother- and had done well at it, too! It was such an awesome moment.  My daughter had been suffering from lack of confidence in her skills, and the fact that she liked the No-Nonsense Algebra lesson format and succeeded with it thrilled me!

Going with this success, I kept our family's approach to
No-Nonsense Algebra the same for the next two lessons: Mom and the kids on the couch with a laptop, the book, some notebooks, and a few pencils.  However, as we got into multiplying and dividing integers, something became obvious: whereas my oldest son could handle the work, holes in my daughter's mastery of multiplication and division facts prevented her from continuing her streak of Algebra success. 

My daughter clearly understood concepts presented in the lessons, but struggled with quick and correct math fact recall and, thus, did not do all of her figuring right.  Thus, before she could get down about her progress with
No-Nonsense Algebra, I gave her a big hug and said, "Wow!  You have been doing HIGH SCHOOL math and you GET IT!  The only reason you've had some trouble here is because the paths in your brain that help you quickly recall facts are not 100% yet.  When you get those down, you are going to be a whiz at this!"

At this, my daughter smiled, got thoughtful, and asked if we could go back to work on her facts and, then, return to Algebra. "Why, absolutely!" was my response, and, so, the next day, she was back to math fact drills and practice while my oldest continued with
No-Nonsense Algebra.

At this point, I asked my oldest if he was ready to try doing his
No-Nonsense Algebra on his own, which he was.  So, I explained that he could even check his answers on his own after he completed either all the odds or all the evens on any given page, and, then, if he had succeeded with the problems he attempted, he could be done for the day.


Since then, 3-5 days a week, my son has used No-Nonsense Algebra as he main math curriculum.  At first, he did well with this - succeeding with lessons and seldom complaining.  However, when work got harder, the complaints began:  "This is too hard."  "I don't like this."  "No, I don't need your help. I can figure this out, but it's stupid."

"No, it's not son.  It's challenging, but useful and well explained.  I am happy to help you if you need me to do so. Daddy is, too.  Then, if you still don't get it, we can pause for a while," was, more or less, my response.

As is typical for my son, he did not want the help nor did he want to push through the tough spots.  For, my son does not like when he does not "get" math concepts right away, nor does he like it when he cannot easily solve problems in his head.  He likes copying problems out of a book onto notebook paper even less. Still - I am happy to say - he pushed through all these "don't likes", persisted with learning, and made it to Lesson 1-12 by Monday of this week, which impressed me (and proved to both him and me that he can succeed with higher level math when he puts his mind to it and has a quality resource to help him!)



What Are Our Thoughts on the Program and Would We Recommend It?
 

When I asked my son about his experience with No-Nonsense Algebra thus far, he said:


 "No-Nonsense Algebra is an algebra program that teaches using online videos and a workbook.  In each video, a teacher explains what the video is about (a math point) and asks you to write along with what he is saying.  He takes you through examples.  Then, the workbook has more problems that you have to do alone.  It has the answers in the back so you can check your work.

I think there are too many problems on most pages, so Mom has me do half of them - which I still think is crazy.  If I get most of them right, I can keep going with the next lesson.  If I don't,  I have to do more problems.

The lessons are set up to do a ton at one time - the short videos and all the problems, but my mom said, when we are busy, I can just do 15 minutes of work at a time. That usually means the video and some of the problems.  When we are not busy, I do a video and all of one half of the problems.

I really don't like this (doing 1/2 the problems in a lesson), because it takes up time, is frustrating, I get things wrong, and I have to do more problems.

The man teaches well.  I will give him that, but the workbook is hard and my mom does not let me write in it.  I don't like copying problems and doing the work out.


I think I might like it later, but right now, it is above my grade level. I want to do some more 6th grade math and, then, may try this again."

So, as you can see, my son is progressing, does not like to practice math with a lot of exercises, and has come to a point where we need to pause our work on
No-Nonsense Algebra, not because the program is not a good one - for it is excellent - but because my son could benefit from a bit more lower math before progressing further.  (This is not surprising since he is only 11 years old and has, to date, used a hodge podge of math resources in a sometimes super relaxed way.)
 

With this in mind, I believe that once my oldest completes a bit more "on grade level" math, he will be in a prime spot to excel with the rest of
No-Nonsense Algebra.  I think my daughter will, too.  In fact, she asked if she could add a quick comment to this review, and, said:

I did the first few lessons of No-Nonsense Algebra, but then it got a little too hard. 

I discovered Algebra is fun, but I need to learn more of my other skills before I can continue.  I want to go back to this book when I finish my other skills.

Did you hear that?  My 10 year old said written Algebra is fun!  She wants to learn more using this resource.  And she will! 

So, even if my daughter is on pause with the program, and I am giving her big brother a break from it, too, I am keeping our
No-Nonsense Algebra book at the front of our math cubby as incentive for my daughter to get through the work of solidifying her basic math facts, so she can get back to applying algebra concepts using No-Nonsense Algebra.  I am also considering getting her the 4th and 5th grade or middle school books that  Math Essentials offers, since it appears that the format of the lessons  - with video explanations and examples, and uncluttered pages of written examples, exercises, and review  - work well for her.

Likewise, I will encourage my oldest to return to
No-Nonsense Algebra as soon as he is ready to do so.

I would say
Math Essentials would work well for other children who prefer concise, straight-forward, math learning or review, too!  I am truly pleased to have been introduced to No-Nonsense Algebra for my own homeschool purposes as well as to have this resource now to recommend to high school students that I mentor who are preparing for college entrance exams or just struggling with high school math.  No-Nonsense Algebra, I believe, can help students reach math mastery fairly quickly and painlessly, not to mention inexpensively.  (Where some math curricula cost big bucks, this full algebra program currently costs just $28.95)

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beginning to Learn Greek {A Greek 'n' Stuff Review}


Anyone who knows how lacking in language giftedness I am and how inconsistent I have been in teaching my children anything beyond beginning lessons in any foreign language might wonder why I would opt to try out the 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set by Greek 'n' Stuff.  I mean, seriously, why would I want to tackle a language that has a different script than English and how on earth would I plan to successfully attempt to teach one - especially at "Level 3"?

Why Did I Choose Level 3 Greek?

 

Hey, Andrew!Teach Me Some Greek!

Let me explain why I chose Level 3 Greek - which is a two-part answer.

Part One: Years ago, I worked on a cruise ship staffed, in part, by Greek officers.  The family of one of those officers came to spend time on the ship and his then-teenage daughter Betty asked if she could be my pen friend upon returning to Greece.  I told her, sure, as long as she wrote in English, since I knew no Greek.  And there began a decades long friendship, not only with Betty, but also with her mom, who speaks minimal English, and, yet, has become my Facebook friend and who often says hello to my children and me via Facebook comments.

My daughter enjoys my friend's mom's quick hellos to us and thinks it would be neat to learn some Greek in order to write to her in her native language. I do, too.  Thus, our seed of interest in trying out
 Greek 'n' Stuff was planted.

Now, a planted seed is all well and good, but why would I start us off Level 3?  Remember?  I speak no Greek and am anything but language gifted.  Plus, my children have studied a bit of this foreign language and a bit of that, but never Greek.  So, why Level 3?

Simple. I had heard that 
Greek 'n' Stuff's Level 3 Greek curriculum begins with a review of materials taught in Levels 1 and 2 and is a good fit curriculum for beginners in upper elementary grades, which is the age my daughter is at.

How Can a Mom with No Greek Language Skills Teach Greek?


So, now you know why I chose 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3. However, you may still be wondering how I - a mom of no Greek language skills - was expecting to teach the curriculum.


To be honest, I wasn't.  Yes, you read that correctly: I did not expect to teach 
Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 and have not really done so.  Instead, I have sat alongside my child as co-learner - not a teacher - with our helpful triple resource of:






  • the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 student worktext  - a 178+ page softcover, spiral-bound workbook that can lay flat for each of use, has generous spaces for writing in answers, and includes a full appendix and flashcards
  • a full answer key - a 178+ page softcover, spiral-bound workbook that mirrors the worktext, but includes complete answer keys as well as pages with a lessons schedule, teaching tips, and more.
  • and a pronunciation CD - a recording of the Greek Alphabet song, pronunciation of new vocabulary, and pronunciation of paradigms, which is indexed to the worktext level and page numbers.


With these curriculum aids, my lack of prior knowledge has not hurt my daughter's learning.  We simply opened the books, used the CD as needed to check pronunciation, and began learning together.

How Did We Progress with Lessons?

The first several lessons are about the Greek alphabet, which, for children who have used Levels 1 and 2 of the curriculum, is a review.  Because we were beginning with Level 3, however, the names and sounds of the Greek alphabet were new to us.  Thus, instead of spending just the suggested two lessons on the first ten pages of the worktext, we spent about eight - taking thing slow but steady, with practice and review on whiteboards.  Likewise, we also did not do all of the suggested lesson three - which included six worktext pages as on lesson.  Instead, we practiced one vocabulary word at a time, extending the lesson.






Because of this slower pace, we have not progressed as far as might be expected in the program so far, but we have progressed far enough to know that my daughter has a better memory for the Greek alphabet than I do and finds the Greek words fun.  She even made up a little dance to help her remember the relatively long Greek word "an-thro-pos" for our English word "man".  It was so cute seeing her dance about the house and yard singing, "AN-thro-pos...AN-thro-pos."  It is equally delightful to know that even though my daughter is still developing with decoding and encoding English, she enjoys foreign languages like Greek and wants to pursue more foreign language learning.




What Did My Daughter Think?


When I asked my daughter what she thought of t
he Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 Set so far, she said:

"I liked learning the Greek. 

Learning the letters was nice and fun.  I like how they show the hands moving on the letters, so you know how to make them.  The Greek letters were fun to write.  The letters were not really that hard to learn, because we went slow and repeated them a lot using white boards.
My favorite word so far was anthropos, which is man.  I made up a little dance movement. 

(I would like to keep learning Greek), because it is fun and I want to be able to have a whole conversation in Greek.  I would like to use this once a week or so."


We will likely do just that, for, although the program is meant to be used more often - and, of course, learning Greek would happen with greater speed and retention if we used the program as written for multiple lessons a week, we tend to flex things around here.  My daughter needs more time with English decoding and encoding, so we'll keep her foreign language learning moving along now, just more slowly than others might.
Straight-Forward Learning



Greek 'n' Stuff

Whether you want to use Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! - Level 3 as an everyday sort of learning tool, a several times a week one (as we've been doing) or as a once-a-week one (which we will likely do henceforth), doing so can be easy.  Lessons are quite straightforward and are taught using the translation method, so Greek words are written in a large font at the beginning of each lesson and, beneath them, are phonetic transcription and meanings.  Then, there are a few activities using target vocabulary (write the word in Greek, draw a picture of the word, match learned words and their English translations, circle correct words, etc.)




Greek 'n' Stuff

 Pages of the book are uncluttered and in black-and-white (which is always a boon for children who struggle with dyslexia, attention, etc.).  The CD offers pronunciation without glitz.  There are no gimmicks (cartoons, catchy tunes, etc.)

Greek 'n' Stuff
Learn More You can find more information about the Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! curriculum on the  Greek 'n' Stuff website, where you'll also find a placement test and free downloadable activities.


Greek 'n' Stuff
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