Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts {Book 3} – TOS review

We reviewed Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Book 3] (Teacher Manual) and Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Book 3] (Student Book) by the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW). Book three targets students in sixth through twelfth grades.

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There are some companies that just make me swoon. Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is one of them. They teach writing the way I believe writing should be taught.

Author Pamela White wants students to see how grammar works in real-life, by giving them the opportunity to edit a piece of work and finish with a well “written” piece of material.

Having worked as an editor, I understand the need to know how to not only edit ones work, but the work of others. I have learned if you write, then you need an editor. No one person writes well enough to do without an editor. That goes for professional editors as well. More than one set of eyes (maybe more than two sets) is always required.

As a writer and a person with a B.A. in English, I think you may be right when assuming I like writing, grammar and just about anything that pertains to language arts. That is one of the reasons I love IEW (and Andrew Pudewa).

iew_fixitFix It! Grammar is written by Pamela White. One thing I like about Pudewa, is that he does not try to do (write) it all. By relying on talented and skilled authors, IEW has been able to produce so much quality curriculum.

There is nothing really new with grammar with the exception of how White approaches the learning of grammar. Rather than have students correct endless amounts of sentences with no goal other than to complete their work, White gives students something to look forward to; the telling of a story. That is the genius of the curriculum.

The concept is easy in a ‘hey, why didn’t I think of that’ manner and then you have, Fix It! Grammar. In Book three, students (readers) work through the story Frog Prince, or Just Deserts. At the end of the story, the student has a hand-written copy of the story which they edited. From that experience, hopefully, they will gain a comfort with the skill of self-editing, so they can create their own well written material.

There are six levels of books in the curriculum, but it is not required your student should begin in Book 1 unless they are at that grammar stage level. You may give your student the placement test to help you better determine where your student should begin in the series.

I am glad I have a second grader, so there is a possibility I will be able to go back and start at the beginning with Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree Book 1. That is, of course, after I use some of the other titles I am dying to use before my children age/grade/knowledge out of the curriculum. Looking through the IEW website use to be confusing to me, but now it is a total joy.

There are 33 weeks of lessons. Some of the topics that are covered are parts of speech, sentences, clauses and phrases, and punctuation.Students complete a new set of lessons that are to be covered over a four-day period. The instructions for use is very easy. Everything is laid out for you and the student with a schedule covering each week for the next 33 weeks. The steps followed throughout the week each day by the student are Learn it–>Fix it–>Discuss it–>Copy it. Rather than make it more difficult than necessary, we followed that schedule. By following the schedule, we were able to complete the daily assignments in about 15 minutes a day, which is the suggested daily time of the curriculum.

River and Lily helped me work through this review. River absolutely loved the 15 minute lessons (see sample). Hmm.iew_fixit01 Lily is like me and loves to write. She is the type of student who would create her own lesson by writing improperly written sentences just so she could correct them. Although the lessons are short, there was a lot of learning going on. Since they already do their grammar lessons together, it was nice to be able to continue in that manner using use Fix It!, which is reproducible.

One the first day, I taught the material they were to cover that week and pretty much sent them on their way for the rest of the week. They followed the steps mentioned above and we came together at the end of the week to read the passages together.

Along with fixing the sentences each day, students are given a vocabulary word to look up in the dictionary and determine the best use of the word in the sentence in which it is used.

There are grammar cards that work as tools for the student to remind them of the grammar rules they are learning. Rules are introduced through week 27 and the student is able to review cards covered over the previous weeks.

The teacher’s manual is very helpful, because it has all of the answers. Even though I love grammar, when it comes to correcting the work my children do, I would rather not have to complete every assignment to ensure the work is right. It tells you the daily fixes and grammar notations for the assigned work. The manual also give more in-depth definition and examples of the covered rule and lessons.

If you like grammar to be simple, easy to learn and true-to-life, then Fix It! Grammar may be right for your school. If you prefer heavy diagramming and practice, practice, practice, you will not find that with this curriculum. I rather like both approaches, because I recently fell back into diagramming and actually enjoy it. I cannot remember doing it when I was in school and do think it is a good skill to learn, but not necessary in the real world. Seeing the amount of editing I do, Fix It! Grammar is more real-life.

Although I agree studying good writing is a way to learn how to write correctly, it just does not happen that way. With technology moving people towards communicating in as few words and characters as possible, grammar gets pushed to the side. That is reflected in writing today and it will be necessary for someone to know how to make the corrections to turn a grammatically challenged writing (or sentence) into something comprehensible and worthy of reading. Fix It! Grammar provides a good start.

Watch and listen to this webinar to learn more.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Student Book 3] is available for $15 and The Fix It! Grammar: Frog Prince, or Just Deserts [Teacher’s Manual Book 3] is available for $19.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.


My Student Logbook {TOS review}

We reviewed the My Student Logbook Horses cover created by My Student Logbook.

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Homeschoolers are very creative when it comes to finding a solution to a situation. I have a tendency to gravitate towards products designed by homeschoolers. It takes a homeschooler to truly understand the needs of a homeschooler when it comes to products that promote organization and efficiency.
My Student Logbook is written for homeschoolers. When I say that, I mean it takes into consideration all of those little things we experience during a school year when it comes to record keeping. The logbooks can be used by any type of family, but if you are a homeschooler, then you will like what you see.

The student log books are for students in second grade and older. They come in two dated manners, one dated and one undated. Since the dated version began at August 2014, I chose the undated one, because I wanted it to coincide with when we actually started school, which was after the first of August.

The undated version gives you more of an opportunity to customize the log book for the use of your student. I’m all about customization, which I think is a characteristic of homeschoolers. The customization continues further with the variety of cover choices for the log book. I was so excitedmy_student_logbook02 to see the Horses cover that was available at the time of the review. I knew my daughter would be the one to review the product and the addition of horses would only make the review and the product more enjoyable for her to use. Unfortunately, the Horses cover is no longer available.

This school year, I have been trying to figure out ways to better present assignments to my children. I want them to be excited about doing school and not have the task of managing their work being a chore. In the past, we have used independent binders, but it is time to move away from those. This year, I decided to give them the lists of their assignments for each subject, but it still was not what I wanted. I want them to be able to take each day as its own and manage and concentrate only on the work for the day without having to be concerned about what is coming the rest of the week.

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My Student Logbook allows your student to see the day (and week if you choose to further list) and the tasks she needs to complete. There is some preparation before presenting the book to your student, but it is not time consuming. Also, the amount of time you will save in the future is worth the minimal effort.

Watch this video to get a better visual idea of how to put the logbook together and how it works.

Lily is a writer, loves organizing things and notebooks/journals. My Student Logbook allows her to do all of those things. Your student does not have to be any of those things. My daughter just happened to enjoy doing all of those things. The logbook is created for efficiency for both the child and parent, so your child does not have to spend a lot of time using it. My Student Logbook works as a tool to help the student work more effectively throughout the day.

I filled out the daily tasks for Lily to complete. This gave her a guide for what she needed to accomplish. She was able to see her day and plan her path to completing everything that was assigned to her to complete.

I like the My Student Logbook primarily, because it promotes independence in your child and allows for more organization regarding presenting assignments to your student and better record keeping for what has been accomplished. I think some of the biggest pluses are that your child is moving more towards becoming independent, more organized and a manager of their time.

I think the added choice of cover selection was a mom decision and a good one. There is no better way to make something more appealing to a child than to include with it something they like.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The My Student Logbook is available for $15. If you have a high school student, then My Student Logbooks can also assist you with your transcript record keeping. If you don’t have a high school student, then it is still good to start seeing what resources are available to you, because that time will come sooner than you realize.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.


The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner {TOS review}

7_plannerI received a physical copy of The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner to review.

Business professional Allyson Lewis is the founder of The 7 Minute Life™, a company that specializes in time management and productivity issues helping her clients achieve organization in all aspects of their lives. She is “re-defining time management.” Lewis is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author of The Seven Minute7_planner01 Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, The 7 Minute Solution: Time Strategies to Prioritize, Organize & Simplify your Life at Work & at Home and The 7 Minute Life Daily Planner.

I never miss an opportunity to try something that will help me become more organized. That could be a good or a bad thing. One would hope that after all of the tools I have used that I would have achieved that task of ultimate organization. On the other hand, I am always looking for ways to improve.

I received the planner that Lewis has created for use by adults (professional and non-professional). The size of the planner is 7.3” x 8.5”, which caught me off guard even though it is stated on the website. The size is actually quite convenient for storing in the bag I usually carry with me when I leave the house. It is already a sturdy book with front and back covers that contain a slot and also has a protective hard plastic over the covers to protect the book for long-term use.

7_planner02Lewis’ goal is to help you complete the daily tasks in your life that you need to everyday. Through the planner, she takes you through three steps that help you along your way; prioritizing, organizing and simplifying. That is wonderful, because those are three steps that often lead to my downfall when trying to get it all together. I get caught up in one or all of those steps and am not really sure where to go and, sometimes, in what order to complete them. This often happens when I try to create a to-do list.

See what Lewis has to say about that here.

Lewis suggests that you take seven minutes (not more) to plan your day. As impossible as it sounds, Lewis shows you it is possible. The preparation necessary to get to the point of being able to schedule your day is seven minutes does not happen in seven minutes. As one who trains people in this area, along with the planner, Lewis has created videos to walk you through the process. Although the concept of spending time on how to better spend your valuable time takes a long time to learn, is kind of funny, Lewis explains for all audiences of comprehension. Some people can get the message in seven minutes, but then there may be others who need a detailed explanation. Lewis make more allowances for the latter. That way, nobody is confused.

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Some of the sections for tasks included in the planner are a Daily Progress Report, What I will do…5 before 11, Appointments, Voice Mail and Unfinished Tasks. I especially like the What I will do…5 before 11, because I start my day early enough in the morning and come 11 a.m. have some days where my accomplishments are like I just woke up at 10 a.m.

I like the planner, but think it is geared more towards a working person rather than a stay-at-home or homeschool mom. Since I work as a freelancer, I found the planner very helpful in putting together my day. Some days I was able to accomplish all of the tasks I planned and others I was not able to. There were also some days where I completed more than five tasks before 11 a.m. having planned my day.

See some of Lewis’ free time management tools. You may learn more by watching some of her videos. You can check out her live webinar on Thursday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. titled “There’s Never Enough Time.”

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The 7 Minute Life™ Daily Planner is available for $24.95.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.


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