Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

...Catholic Style!

The first day of Advent marks the first day of the Liturgical Year in the Catholic Church. Like all Church seasons, it is denoted by a color. This one is marked by my favorite: purple! Purple signifies both the sovereignty of Christ (his Kingship - hey, it is a royal color!) and penitence. If you want to be very technical, the purple of Advent is deeper and darker than the purple of Lent (of course, we get a liturgical break on the 3rd Sunday of Advent, but that's for another post!).
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P.S., it is not the Christmas season yet. I know this will come as a shocker to a lot of people, but Christmas doesn't start until December 25th. It ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord (which has been moved to a fixed date on the Sunday following the feast of Epiphany, the Sunday closest to January 6th). So, if you're a Catholic, or any devout Christian, hold off on the Christmas decorations and enjoy the season of Advent. 

The first week we Wait.

The second week we Prepare.
 The third week we Rejoice.

The fourth week we Behold.

Then, we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ten Things You Don't Know About Me

Okay, so I won't do this on Facebook because it is so public, but I will do it here (and have it post to FB - ha!) in my own personal space. The fact is that very few people know anything at all about me, so I have to think hard about what I am willing to give away!

10. I am obsessive and I border on being a hoarder when I am obsessing over something.

9. As much as I want not to care, I cry when people unfriend me on FB, especially when it's because they find my Catholic morality hateful. Especially when it is someone I have known for a long time.

8. I got married the day after 21, which made me barely legal for my honeymoon in Las Vegas, where I was carded (that was almost 18 years ago for anyone who is curious). There were doubters who thought I wouldn't finish college by getting married in the middle of my junior year of college: to you I say, "I'll see your 1.5 years of college and raise you 7.5 years of grad school."

7. Keeping with that theme, if I could have lunch with anyone living or dead, it would be my grandmother, Mama Connie. I miss her terribly and I have so many things I want to talk to her about. Re: her dress, her luggage was lost before my wedding, and she was horrified that she had to wear her travel clothes to my wedding. Like anyone cared!

6. I am related to a homeschool celebrity (if you do Seton, that is).

Yeah, that guy is my Uncle Bob(ert). My mom's baby brother and my favorite uncle. Little Bob Wiesner tidbit: he used to work in a book store a million years ago. The beard was brown then. People used get Stephen King books and bring them up to the register and look at the author photo and then look at Bob and say, "Is that you?!" I think it's the eyes - very charismatic guy. He's a wonderful guy.

5. I hated graduate school. I was the token Christian and the token Conservative in my very liberal department at Rice. I was mocked mercilessly by a couple of professors (which didn't really bother me since I no respect for them anyway). Two things saw me through. Sheer tenacity (Henry says I'm like a bulldog with a steak - when I want something you can't get it away from me for anything in the world) and Henry. He flat-out would not let me quit. I owe him everything for that. There was one office in our department I longed to get lost in, and it belonged to this guy:

Photo Copyright Rice University

That's Dr. Gilbert Cuthbertson, or Doc C. He got his PhD in Government from Harvard in 1963 and he's still teaching at Rice. He's a dinosaur in the department since he doesn't *do* political science. He teaches government and political theory, which is only one reason I love him. I had the honor of TAing for him more than 10 years ago, and this man can teach. His office has so many old and moldering books in it that there is almost no room for him. It is what I fantasize about when I fantasize about academia. The fact that it is not what academia is is one of the major reasons that I want no real part of academia. It is because of Doc C that you may very well here me say, "Watch the hands, people!"

4. You've probably never heard of my favorite band. I only know one person who has, but he's not the person who introduced me to them.

This is my favorite album by my favorite band, and it was "given" to me by my high school boyfriend, Marc.

Marc was the kindest, sweetest boy in the world. Honestly, our relationship only officially ended because I met the man I knew I was meant to marry practically the second I started college. Marc died in 1997, may God grant him eternal rest.

3. My family mirrors my nuclear family in so many ways that it is more than eerie. If you knew me then, you can only imagine. Except you can't.

2. I knew that I was pregnant with my twins immediately, and just as immediately I knew it was twins. I really did. I mean, with a 2 year old, a 7 month old, a looming dissertation, and a sister who had just had twins (and a mom who was a twin), what else could it be? My pregnancy hunch was confirmed with a dollar store test. Yep - dollar store!

1. Husband aside, the only best friend I've ever had where I knew it was 100% reciprocal was a guy. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A (12 year-old) Girl's Best Friend

It was kind of day I had a little girl, and then one day I woke up with a young lady. One day Therese didn't care about makeup at all, and the next she loved going to Ulta, checking out the weekly beauty sales at Walgreens, and ooohing and aaahing at the Urban Decay pallets I drool over online. The only problem is that she is 12. She seemed way too young to me...until I realized that when I was 12, I went to a public junior high school and I was in possession of pressed powder and barely there lipstick. I'm pretty sure that the powder was parentally approved; I'm not so sure about the lipstick!

Of course I see the girls that Therese dances with, and they wear full faces of makeup at her age. They look ridiculous at 11, but by 14 I want to ask some of them about their eyeshadow application tips. I don't want either one of those options to apply to my daughter! However, I am in love with lipstick myself, and one of my recent loves seemed to offer a perfect compromise for Therese! Honestly, I was kidding when I asked Henry if Therese could wear lipstick, but he said that as long as it was unobtrusive, he didn't mind...

Enter - Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Peach Parfait!

The texture of a Lip Butter is very much like that of a lip gloss. It is part of that branch of the lipstick family that is heavy on the lip balm aspect, but not necessarily as heavy on the lip pigmentation (although there are a couple of pretty heavily pigmented lip butters, of the four I/we own, only one has what I would call a lipstick-type pigmentation). The above is a stock photo of Peach Parfait. Here is what it looks like outside in natural lighting. Don't be fooled by the berry look; it is definitely on the peachy side!

And here's a swatch (again in natural lighting, unadjusted on the computer):

On Therese's lips, the color is barely discernible. What you do see is a lot of shine. Her own lips are close to this color, and her skin is on the yellow-toned side (thank you, Cuban blood!), so this actually looks pretty natural on her! However, she loves that is wearing lipstick!

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't cater to the whims of my kids. The desire for lipstick is one I get, though! And since a Lip Butter is so much a balm as well, I am not at all unhappy to let Therese wear it. These retail for anywhere between $5.50-$7.50 depending on where you go and how good you are at hunting down a sale (BOGO1/2 at Walgreens with a coupon, anyone?). 

Be sure to stop by next week when I'll show you how I taught Therese to line her waterline... ;-)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review of At Home in Dogwood Mudhole

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is a really entertaining, even charming, book that I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing. Written by Franklin Sanders from At Home in Dogwood Mudhole, this book is a memoir, written diary style (to be accurate, it is actually written as a personal letter to subscribers to his newsletter, but the reading experience is that of looking into a diary), about a man who takes his family and leaves his known way of life to live off the land in Dogwood Mudhole, TN. Yes, there really is a Dogwood Mudhole, TN!

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When I first got this book, I knew it was going to be a good one when Mr. Sanders used the word "Luddite" in the preface. Any man who knows the Luddites is a friend to me. Any man who can work in a reference to them before he even officially begins his memoir surely has the kind of writing style that will resonate with me. Boy was I right! Mr. Sanders has written the kind of memoir that I would like to write, if only anything in my life was memoir-worthy. It is funny, pathetic (in the archaic usage, related to the Greek pathos), and surprisingly hard to put down! It is the kind of book that you feel good, rather than guilty, about reading. To get an idea of what I mean, read the sample chapter "Pig Persuader."

The Sanders family odyssey begins when the nuclear family realizes that Y2K is around the corner and that they are not really very satisfied with the pace and composition of modern life anyway. Hence, they trade in their pedestrian lifestyle for multi-generational, two generations removed, family style Tennessee farming. The title of Volume 1 of the memoir, "Nothing That Eats" refers to Mrs. Sanders' request that the family not acquire anything that eats. Of course, you can only imagine how long that resolution lasts!

Beginning in June, 1995, Mr. Sanders begins writing a monthly update in which he describes his family's life and decision-making process, the culmination of which was the decision to find a homestead in Middle TN in which to weather out Y2K. If you're thinking that this book reads like some kind of book form of a show like "Doomsday Preppers" (a show I've never seen, but have seen advertised), you could not be farther from the truth. With hindsight, it is easy to forget how consumed much of the country was with thoughts of Y2K and what might happen as a result of unprepared computers. What now reads as a little quaint would have read as very current to Mr. Sanders' newsletter subscribers. Putting that aside, though, the final impetus for the Sanders family move in no way detracts from the overall theme of the book: the family had run out of ideas for good places to raise their seven children and for a way to live the kind of authentic life they felt they were being called to live. Y2K almost becomes incidental.

Volume I of this projected three volume memoir (two volumes are currently available) ends in September, 2002 as the family uses up the last of its stored Y2K supplies. It is hard to leave the Sanders family after going on this adventure with them, so it's a relief that Volume II is out now (11/15/13), with Volume III not far behind!

At Home in Dogwood Mudhole is written for adults, but would make a great read aloud for almost any age. It has nearly 400 pages but is a very quick read (I read it in three days). It can be purchased from the At Home in Dogwood Mudhole website for $22.95.

Lots of Crew families got to read this neat book, so click the banner below to see what they thought!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Review of French Essentials

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French Essentials is one of those reviews that I can't believe I actually received. It's amazing. It's terrific. It's worth every penny if you're not blessed enough to get it free for review. Can you tell I like it? The Full Access Online Program is nothing short of delirium-inducing. It includes every single aspect of language learning, from written work to language lab. Honestly, it is far better than the Spanish classes that I took in school (nothing could be better than the Latin I took in school, but that has everything to do with my amazing Latin teacher). And since Therese (12) has been begging to learn French, reviewing this program truly has been a wonderful experience.

How It Works

French Essentials' website says it best:
French Essentials is a complete, downloadable French curriculum with online features that include culture, fun exercises, lesson tests, and more. Designed by experienced French teachers specifically for home learners, it is clear and easy to use and does not require previous knowledge of French.
What on Earth could be better than that?! French Essentials is unique in that even the downloadable pdf worksheets feature audio content (in addition to the video content that is on the website). There are several components to the website and the program, so I'll describe each of them.

When a student logs in, this is the dashboard she sees:

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Clicking on "Download Area" allows the student to select the module on which she is currently working, bringing up a page like this:

Clicking on a lesson will download that lesson's worksheet. For example: 

At the bottom of the Module 1 Download Area, you see this:

It is here that parents can download, well, the workbook, answer keys, and Module 1 Checklist! The checklist is great because it allows you to make sure that you have done everything that is necessary for each lesson.

The checklist is such a great bonus, as it is something that I would ordinarily create for myself (so that Therese had something to keep herself oriented). I love that French Essentials is so complete that they include it as part of the program!

The online portion of the program looks like this:
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The online exercises are actually Quizlets flashcards! I use Quizlets for everything, so I was delighted to see them incorporated into this program! Language lab!

Therese uses another app for learning and practicing SAT vocab words, so this type of learning format is very familiar to her, and it is one that she really enjoys. She loves this aspect of French Essentials!

The test should look familiar, given the online exercises!

Yep! More Quizlet! Therese had no idea how easy the test was going to be. She is used to Latin and Greek, so she takes her languages seriously! In fact, she has taken three tests so far, and hasn't even typed in the answers. She just blurted them out to me. She knows it will get harder...

Finally, there is the Culture component:
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Learn about Francophones and where around the world French is spoken. The Culture element rounds out this program to make it 100% complete!

How We Used French Essentials

Therese has done this program all on her own. She logs on, checks her checklist to see what she should be working on, and completes her assignment. I have been forcing her to complete only one assignment per day because it is a new language and I want her really to learn. However, that is completely contrary to the way that I normally homeschool. To that end, I am going to let her loose and let her go as fast as she wants, provided that she continues to practice her vocabulary and her accent with her father. Thank goodness she has finally gotten over her shyness about practicing languages orally! Doing Latin with her when she was six was frustrating! She shows me her written work, I hear her teaching the other kids (10, 8, and 8) what she has learned, and she practices with Henry. Otherwise, this is a course she completes 100% on her own. Another reason to absolutely love it! 

How Much Is It?

Full pricing of French Essentials can be seen here. Essentially, you have the choice to subscribe by Module (with 90 days access for $69.95) or by year (with access to all Modules 1-5, with 5 still in progress as of this writing, for $149.95). Modules 6-10 will be available in the future. For the duration of your subscription period, you have access to all downloads and website exercises.

How does the whole Module thing work? Where do you start? The FAQ is definitely the place to go for these answers. French Essentials does not recommend its program for students younger than 3rd grade. It provides these grade level equivalencies for its program Modules:

At this point, I would love it if Therese could go all the way through this program! Henry is semi-fluent in French (or was, at one point!), and he loves that Therese is taking subjects right now that he can be a part of!

I am so in love with French Essentials that I was prepared to give it a trial run whether or not we got the review (go check out the website if I didn't give you enough screenshots - I bet you'll agree that this is one complete language program!). I don't think a kid can get enough languages, and I happen to have one that loves to learn new ones. She currently is taking or has taken Spanish, Latin, Greek, and now French. In terms of ease of teaching and her love of the program (Latin will always be our first love language, I think, but that's okay! It fathered French!), French Essentials is hands-down our family favorite. I wish there were more companies like it!

If you've had enough of my gushing, go check out the other Crew reviews ;-)

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Pictorial of Editing Madness

I will let the pictures speak for themselves because I don't want to say things I'll regret...but aaaahhhhh!

I have so many more examples of this woman's incompetence. For instance, did you know "to game" is not a verb? Someone needs to tell Merriam-Webster. And my son ;-)

This woman bullies other people that work for my boss. I finally emailed him about it; everyone else is afraid to. I'm a little afraid of the consequences (I need my job!), but holy smokes! She's a raging incompetent. Happy Sunday...

Review of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics

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What is it about that book cover that makes science look fun and exciting even when you know it's really scary and intimidating? All I can say is Apologia Educational Ministries has done it again! I am not ashamed to say that my science bookshelf looks like this:

Obviously, we are not strangers to the wonder that is Apologia science (for the record, I paid full retail price for every single one of those books and I plan to keep them until my kids are in college. That's how much I love this homeschool science curriculum). Thus, when we heard that Apologia had written a new science text, the whole family was excited! We knew it would be coming home one way or another. Getting it for review was amazing, though. Even better, we also got the notebooking journals! We had the opportunity to review the following items:

Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics hardcover textbook (K-6, $39.00)

Mary-Catherine (almost 9!) just asked me what I was doing. I told her, "Writing my Apologia review." Her response - "Isn't that the Land Animals of the 6th Day people?! They're awesome!!" I guess we know how she feels about the whole thing. I guess she also hasn't made the connection that her current science course is also Apologia, but to be fair she really does think of Life Science when she thinks of Apologia. She calls Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics "the colorful chemistry book." It's easy to see why, and the amazing color and graphics are the first thing that set this Apologia offering apart from its predecessors. In layout and format, this entry into the Young Explorers Series will look very much like the others, but in graphics, Apologia has stepped it way up. Even M-C noticed how beautiful this book really is!

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As I said, this text is laid out in much the same way as previous Apologia books. To get a good feel for what that looks like, check out Chapter One in the downloads section on the textbook's webpage. Every couple of pages of reading, you'll come across a "Try This" section:

What's the significance of that? Two things: although this book masquerades as a textbook, it's not. It is a living book in the best Charlotte Mason tradition (but it is the most rigorous of science curricula - make no mistake), and if you have boys or wiggly girls, you don't have to wait too long to get to something they can get up for! Some kids can sit still and listen to books for hours. Some kids can sit still and read for hours. I've never met the little boy for whom this is true, though. And science is just one of those subjects that begs to be *tried*. Apologia knows this and gives you so many opportunities to do exactly that! As with all things homeschool, though, how much you do is always up to you.

The 275 page textbook consists of 14 chapters, each of which is designed to take two weeks or so to complete. Although there is no suggested schedule in the text, it does lend itself to natural "breaks." If you are the kind of parent who prefers a daily breakdown, I would strongly encourage the purchase of the notebooking journal, where the following beauty will greet you at the front:

The text covers the following topics (over the course of several chapters): Matter, Compound Chemistry, Mechanics, Motion, Energy, Light, Thermal Energy, Electricity, Magnetism, and Simple Machines). It is so comprehensive!

The Notebooking Journals are very similar in scope. There are a couple of differences between the standard and the junior, most notably that the junior has less writing and more coloring. If you are trying to decide which one to get, the primary determinant should be how comfortable your child is writing. If he doesn't mind it, get the standard. If he struggles or is a new writer, get the junior. You can see sample downloads on the notebook pages at Apologia's site here and here if you need more help deciding!

The journal has so many great features, including crosswords, copywork, and, Nicholas' (10) favorite: notebooking pages. When I read the chapter, Nicky has his journal in front of him to take notes as I read:

Apologies for the bad picture. Nicky writes so lightly that it is hard to make the writing visible! He takes it so seriously, though. It really makes it easier for him to focus as I read. 

How We Used Apologia

It's no secret that I am not the science person in my family. My background is *social* science. What a HUGE difference that one word makes! Fortunately, Henry's degree is in biology. His present job has much to do with chemistry. For this review, then, we split duties. I read the text to the kids and oversaw notebooking/journaling activities during the week. Then by the weekend, they were ready for Henry to make it all relevant with discussion and experiments!

The best thing about doing science with someone who knows how is that he doesn't have to rely solely on the text, so he can use it as a guideline and then take off! The bad part is that, because Mom gets a break from school, there is no one to document with the camera! Still, the kids loved telling me what they did with Dad, and I knew it stuck because the whole next week, they couldn't stop talking about volume and density.

When the kids and I read about density during the week, we floated eggs in salt and regular water to learn about the effect of salt on density. When the kids told Henry about that, he began to tell them all about the Dead Sea and *its* level of salinity and the effect on density and buoyancy. The kids were, of course, thrilled to be able to show him the Dead Sea on their Bible maps. I love the synchronicity of homeschooling!

When Henry found out the kids were studying volume, he put a marshmallow in the microwave to show them that it changed in volume when it was heated, but that its mass remained the same. They really liked that experiment!

He talked to the kids about whether a pound of marshmallows or a pound of iron weighed more ;-)

He brought out our scale, a loaf of bread, and a bag of bagels. He showed the kids how the bread and the bagels weighed exactly the same - had the same mass - (it was written on the bag, but he wanted them to weigh them, too), but had different densities. He explained to them that they could easily confirm that just by biting into them!

Henry makes everything so much more exciting than I can, even with Apolgia's help, because he LOVES science. The problem is that he doesn't always know how to bring it down to the level of a 10 year-old and two 8 year-olds. This is where Apologia has saved us time after time! The book lets him know exactly what kids this age can digest. He reads the chapter, looks at the experiments, does some of them, and then his science instincts take over. The kids get the absolute best of both worlds! It just works for us! (Incidentally, we are using Biology in much the same way with Therese (12)! I guide her reading during the week, and Henry takes care of all discussion and experimentation on the weekend.)

Do you have to have a science guy or girl at home to make Apologia work for you? NO! That's just the point. Apologia is just as wonderful if you are a science genius as if you're a science dud (ahem, I'm talking to you, self!). The text talks down to no one! It respects the intelligence level of all and it gives everyone plenty to work with. I again ask you to consider my Apologia shelf. It is the best recommendation I can give for this company!

Do I Need the Notebooking Journals?

In a word, no. HOWEVER, I have now used them for this course and for Anatomy and Physiology, and they have added so much to our study. For one thing, they reassure me that we are really doing science. I guess one of the hazards of Apologia's making it so easy is that I worry that the kids won't retain things (which is silly, as my kids remember Apologia courses we did years ago). I guess I just like having the written record. I also like having the lesson plans. The notebooking journals are a very individual thing, though. The best thing to do is to look at the samples to see if they are right for your family. If you're on a tight budget, the worst mistake you could make is to think that you had to pass up this course because you couldn't also get the journals. Just get the text! It is 100% complete and wonderful! The journals are just the icing on the cake!

I hope it's clear how much my whole family loves this course. We are in the middle of Chapter 3 and can't wait to get to Thermal Energy in a few months (for some reason, that topic has captured the kids' imaginations!). To see how it has been working for other Crew families, click the banner below!


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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review of IXL

IXL is one of the first names in homeschooling excellence. Long known for its online math membership, it has recently added an online language arts membership for grades 2-4 as well.

IXL offers state standards and common core aligned math practice skills for grades K-12, including Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Pre-Calculus is coming soon. Each grade level has a varying number of skills, with grades 2-12 all having over 200 skills included. Students work through skills systematically to achieve mastery, earning rewards and achievements along the way.

Although IXL has always been known for its math practice, it has recently introduced a new language arts offering for grades 2-4, with additional grades to come. IXL's language arts practice follows the same general format as its math practice. There are currently 57 skills for 2nd grade, 70 skills for 3rd grade, and 71 skills for 4th grade. Questions asked gradually increase in difficulty as students answer more and more correctly.

How The Drills Work

For both math and language arts, the practice drills work in the same way. Questions start out relattively easy and get more difficult. For the first question a student answers correctly, he gets 10 points. The second ad third questions answered correctly earn 9 points, the fourth-ninth questions earn 8, and each successive correct question earns fewer correct points as mastery is demonstrated. When a question is answered incorrectly, four-five points are lost. After about 60-70 questions, a student only gets 1 point correct for each right answer, but he still loses multiple points for a wrong answer. As my son says, it's one step forward, five steps back. Trust me, when IXL says your student has mastered a subject - he's mastered a subject! 

At 70% mastery, a green badge is earned. At 80%, a red badge is added to the green. At 90%, a blue badge is earned and you enter the challenge zone. After answering ten questions in a row correctly, you have attained mastery of that skill! Whew!

Parental Reports

One of the best features of IXL is the parental report. Not only can you view every aspect of your child's progress through IXL online (literally every aspect - you can even see every single question your child has been give to answer!), but IXL even emails progress reports to you. I was in bed late one night when I got the email telling me that Nicky (10) had answered 500 8th grade math questions! You can view the reports a variety of ways. A couple of them are depicted below:

You really can have your child's progress displayed any way you choose, though. Your options are almost limitless!

How We Used IXL

Nicky (10) used IXL as a supplement to his math program. He is doing a computer-based algebra curriculum, but because I am always worried about how good his math foundation is since he has worked through some levels so quickly, he was working on IXL's 8th grade math. It turned out to be a great fit, complementing the algebra he was doing really well. Best of all, he loves working on it. In fact, he tries to do IXL before his other math. He actually tries to do IXL before any schoolwork. He is highly motivated by the system of mastery-attainment I described above. Below you can see the skills that he has mastered, along with those he is on his way to mastering.

Therese (12) has been using IXL math for remediation in a couple of areas in which she is not very strong. Specifically, she knows which areas of math are really helpful on the SAT (ratios, for example), so she has sought out those areas on IXL. Working on these areas has shown her where she needs extra instruction, so IXL has actually helped her in two ways: it has given her extra practice where she needs it, but it has also showed her where extra practice is just not going to be enough.

The language arts section of IXL is something about which I am very excited. Fortunately, my twins (almost 9) are at exactly the right age to benefit from it! I know that the Common Core is very controversial, and I am against it in principle. However, in my day job, I actually create language arts Common Core materials for a very well known website for public school teachers. In terms of language arts, I think the Common Core is a good thing (and the standards are very rigorous!). The exercises at IXL are nearly identical to those that I write every single day, but mine are boring old pencil and paper. Michael (my IXL language arts guinea pig) has infinitely preferred the IXL version. Some of the second grade skills are below.

A sample question looks like this:

The language arts is a wonderful new addition to IXL and is really a lot of fun! I actually see it improving my twins' standardized test scores in the areas of capitalization and punctuation. They were in the top quarter last year, but I was still a little dismayed by how many questions they missed in these areas. (N.B. I'm going to add Mary-Catherine to our IXL subscription!).

The Nitty Gritty

A subscription to IXL costs $9.95 per month for math only or language arts only, or $15.95 a month for both subjects. If you prefer, you can subscribe for a full year for $79 for a single subject (math or language arts), or you can pay $129 a year for both math and language arts. Each additional child is only $2 per month, or $20 per year. I have always thought this sounded like a lot of money in the past, and, well, it kind of is...but it's worth it! My kids all love it. Okay, Therese doesn't *love* it, but she does like it. She doesn't argue about having to do it at all. Nicky's verdict: "Awesome!" You get so much for your money with IXL - you really do.

Crew members with children of all ages have been busily using IXL math and language arts, so click the graphic to read all of their reviews!

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