Golden Grasses

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shakespeare Camp -Love's Labor Lost

Shakespeare Camp is the brain-child of Super Mommas, Ana and Caitilin. Caitilin is our intrepid director every year, taking on the task of teaching, directing, feeding, cajoling and whipping into shape the motley crew that assembles every summer for 6 hours rehearsals and a 2 hour performance. 

This was the 7th Annual Shakespeare Camp and the 5th year that at least one of our kids have been involved. This year, both Cub and Flower participated. 

This year, pink- T-shirts were in order. 

We had seasoned pros on stage and a few new faces.

Cub wore the same attire that Feeche did a few years ago in King Lear

It was Flower's first year on stage at Shakespeare Camp. 
No lines, and burning up in a dress she insisted was made of carpet.
It was a bit hot the day of the performance! 

Mr. T had all the moves!

and Mr. F added some local color. 

A king and his men.

and Mr. I in an incredibly cool Russian hat. 

Incredi-buds- on stage and off.

Scorned by the princess, regardless of incredibly cool Russian hats.

Incredi- king-Cub, spying on his Lords. 

Sir J, striking a pose. 

Most of the whole crew. Miss. M made a fabulous princess and her ladies in waiting were beautiful, too. 
Flowers for Producer and Director. Another fantastic Shakespeare Camp, thanks to Ana and Enak! 

Enak and some of her crew with part of mine. 
Our kids spend the week at their house, eating good food and sharing great books, good memories and a lot of laughs!  

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

With Lee in Virginia- TOS Review

"Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, You should never do less."
~Robert E. Lee

Heirloom Audio Productionscompany committed to audio adventures for Christian families, 
has published another fine audio theater production: 

Our family really enjoys radio theater and jumps at every chance we can get to hear quality audio drama. We became acquainted with Heirloom Audio Productions last year when we reviewed In Freedom's Cause, and were eager to be chosen for this review. This is a quality audio production with a fine cast including the following well known actors:
If you haven't discovered G.A. Henty yet, With Lee in Virginia is a great introduction.
This abridged edition follows the story of a 15 year old boy who grows up in the South, but whose sympathies lie on the side of justice. Our young protagonist meets many brave soldiers, is confronted with the ugliness of war and comes to understand the call of duty, even in the face of defeat.

Included is a 52 page study guide. The graphics are beautiful, the content rich and includes sections on Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words. Also included are two Bible studies; one on Duty and on title "Love Your Enemy." Good studies for today's troubled times! 

This would be a great Civil War study in an of itself, terrific supplemental material for American History, a mini-unit study, a great co-op study or simply a well develop interest led study. We listened with interest during a couple of hot summer afternoons as a break from outside yard work; a terrific addition to the conclusion of our American History studies this year. 

In addition we also received:
All the Special Bonuses I received are available from 
with purchase of the Family Four-Pack Package
  • audio theater production (mp3)
  • ebook of G.A. Henty’s original story with colorful graphics (pdf)
  • soundtrack (mp3)
  • study guide and discussion starter (pdf)
Keep your eye on Heirloom Audio Productions for more fine products, produced with Christian families in mind! 

Find Heirloom Audio Productions on Social Media 


And, of course, read other reviews from the lovely Crew: 
With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review 
@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Frosting on the Cake- High School Electives, Jobs and College Prepping

This months topic for the Homeschooling High School Blog Hop has to do with Extra-curriculars, working while in high school and prepping for post high-school. Like I posted last month, we mostly follow a traditional 4 x 4 transcript. Electives, jobs, college prepping, life skills- these are like frosting on the cake. They take good, solid, plain traditional and jazz it up into something grand and festive.
Since we’ve lived in the Territories we have taken advantage of the extra-curricular opportunities available. Some of these didn’t exist when we moved here- we brought them here, supported those who did, looked for opportunities in the area.
We base electives on

  • Interests
  • Traditional school requirements
  • Our values
  • What's available in the area. 

These activities have included but not been limited to:

TeenPact and alumni events - learn state and national government,how to make a difference in the world despite ones age and get ahold of what it means to be a Christian citizen in todays world; campaigning- local, state and the national level
ballroom dancing- protocol at its finest. A local dance company hosts homeschooling ballroom dance lessons and open dancing every other week.
Volley ball - in the summer- lessons and scrimmage
Drama Camp- 1 week every spring with a huge musical every  other year
One Act Plays - every January at the local university theater
Shakespeare Camp - every summer the kids memorize and perform a full Shakespeare play
Yearly formalhigh-school Dinner-Dance- planned and served by area Homeschooling Parents
Teen-Nights -good, clean fun - bonfires, food, friends!
broom-ball - brooms, a ball and an outdoor ice-rink .
Choir - co-op
art classes-  through co-op, and professional artist friends
Creative writing
Speech/ debate - through co-op, TeenPact and CC
and more!
Our high-schoolers have often had jobs that have included part time work at tea and coffee houses, office work, farm and ranch work and most recently working at an orchard.
Our acreage and house-rebuild project (from a house fire-read the Tear Down to Build Up posts for more) have provided ample opportunity to learn life skills. Our kids know, in great detail, how to drywall, tape, mud, sand and finish, paint, simple carpentry skills, grout, re-finish floors, build brick paths and much more. We have also re-claimed much of our land by clearing, hauling, fence removal, and have gardened, landscaped and hardscaped extensively. The kids have helped me build simple furniture. We have experimented with animals and edible landscaping and they have enough familiarity with animals to have personal lists of pros and cons. All of the kids know how to comparison shop, cook and meal plan. They all know how to glean and acquire goods and clothing for next to nothing and still look well dressed and respectable.

How did we teach all of this? By living and working alongside of each other. Most of the above was not curriculum but necessity driven. When Dr. Dh and I have not known how to do something (i.e. tile the bathrooms) we have found mentors and books and studied and learned. When we have had grapes that were ripe,we have canned juice. Our life-style has necessitated seeking out information and implementing it. 
Life skills for our teens also include knowing how to introduce people to each other, carry on a civil and interesting conversation, ignore social media for the sake of real time interaction, make others feel welcome and at home and engage in moral, honest relationships. We have technology but use it as a tool rather than being enslaved to it. Shaking hands and making eye contact with new acquaintances is a lost art and one we hope our kids embrace, even as they leave our home. 
Driver’s Ed and keyboarding go without saying. I would love for someone to learn small engine repair and fix everything around here, but so far that hasn’t happened. 

My current and most recently graduated high-schooler share the passions of history, geography and writing. They have both spent zillions of hours reading and studying history and geography- maps are  handy at our  house- and writing on their own as well as discussing and studying story, character development and genres. They read Susan Wise Bauer's History of series for fun, listen to Old Western Culture Greeks and Romans on car trips  and spend many hours discussing the fine points and nuances of history.
 Poetry is de-rigeur- both memorizing it, reading it and writing it. We use and love Grammar of Poetry.  and Poetry Outloud has been a great recitation competition that is easy to bring to your local homeschooling community. 
What comes after high school? We have found college is getting more expensive, less academically challenging and of questionable value- both morally and vocationally- when complete. We are also in that odd middle income range that affords mostly nothing in terms of government aid, but can’t justify $25K per year per child on college. Where does that leave us? With college hacking, vocational and entrepreneurial endeavors.

For our younger two we’ll be doing test prep earlier and on-line through Bridgeway Academy and taking the ACT as many times as needed for a specified minimum score. In addition, our high-schoolers will be taking DE and CLEP test through the summer as part of their high school program; General Ed courses, such as speech, or areas of particular interest such as Western Civ.
What academic electives do we do? This past year, our freshman took the Grammar of Poetry, Middle East studies, Intro to Water Color, Bio lab in our co-op and then Chem Lab and Myths and Legends on-line. This year he’ll do music studies, A and P lab  at a local hopsital, Physical Science lab, reading The History of Science and The History of the Renaissance World as well as continue watching Old Western Cultures Greeks and Romans by Roman Roads Media, and Logic by Nance.
We’ll also include personal finance, some classes at the Outdoor Camps (free and in the past have included snow skiing, archery, canoeing, orienteering, and nature walks). Because their Dad is a Science Nerd they will be plenty steeped in biblical archeology, astronomy and weather.

This year our kids will delve into Latin in earnest, as well as take as much RS German as they want, and Spanish in co-op with a native speaker. 
P.E? We work out at a gym and they jog with their Dad. We do the occasional rock-wall climbing and canoeing field trip. My kids are outside a LOT- rain, snow and in sub-zero weather, as well as on hot, windy prairie days. They are all walk-abouters and spend hours on the ridge, at the river and generally being out and about. An elective? Not really, but they are all naturalists at heart, observing animal behavior, weather patterns and plants. We do have field guides about and we look up and note animal, habitat and weather. 

Apologetics is de rigour around here and something we study throughout our core subjects, using fantastic books and DVD’s by authors such as Bonhoffer, C.S. Lewis, Kreeft, Tolkein, Johnson, Colson and others. Church History is part of our plan as well, which we study more through history, timeline, historical fiction and movies than as an actual class in and of itself.

Cub loves shooting- air soft pistols, guns and bows. He is more marksman than hunter and we feed the habit by supplying him with arrows, tips, bullets and safe targets. I love that he does because my Mom and Grandma were award winning sharp-shooters. This also manifests itself in occasional air soft war games on our property.  The legend lives on, right?

As I wrote this post it seemed a bit superfluous. I mean, most of what I researched about extra-curriculars seemed like stuff that we just "did" as a matter of course through living our lives. I offer what we do and have done as mere suggestions - perhaps they will spark an idea for you. I'd love to hear what you do.   

Read More on Electives in the High School Years from an amazing group of experienced Homeschoolers! 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

SimplyFun- TOS Review

Simply Fun Review 
SimplyFun publishes educational and fun games. We have a few tried and true games that we love and mainly stick with those. Last year we re-discovered how fun educational games were last year during Essentials, especially math games. As a result, I was excited to see how Shape Whiz could build our math acumen, while still providing good, clean fun. I was not disappointed! The goal of this game is simple- mastering geometric shapes and properties.
 Simply Fun Review
The games consists of two sets of cards:
       80 shape cards- some green and some blue. Each shape card is double sided- one side is the shape, super-imposed on a grid. The other side includes the properties of the shape- # of sides, # of angles, total perimeter, total area, # of parallel sets lines of symmetry, etc, with a total of 16 shapes presented in various sizes.  In other words, you get a whole lot of visual and geometric information on each double sided Shape Whiz card! With this deck you’ll receive blue cards and green cards. Use just one color for shorter, simpler games, and both colors for longer, more complex games.
      40 double sided whiz cards -these cards give the players geometric “clues”. The cards explain mathematical signs and symbols, area, angels, curves, polygons, and more to help you understand what the whiz card is asking. Perfect for kids who are struggling with mathematical relationships!
The game is easy to learn and can be played with 2-4 players. Each game can take 10 minutes or longer, depending on the number of player and if you are using the entire deck of 80 shape cards or not.

Each player is dealt 15 shape cards and puts four of their shape cards in front of them, with the “Whiz” cards in the middle. Taking turns, each player draws a “Whiz” card from the center and quickly looks for a match amongst their or an opponent’s cards.  Once a match has been located, the players all check to ensure that it is a correct match. If so, the matched cards are discarded. The first person to discard all of their 15 cards, wins.

This is a fun, effective and simple game to teach shapes, matching and math relationships. It’s also a great exercise in verbal speed, guess-timation and acuity. While the Shape Whiz marketed for children ages 10 and up I think children much younger could do extremely well with it.  Perfect for use at home, for game nights, in co-ops and for CC Essentials Math games!

Flower and I had a good time playing Shape Whiz- it is simple enough to use as a “filler” game for homeschool. You know, those time when you need to change it up a bit but something that doesn’t take so long that the kids think they are done for the day – a quick and fun diversion from everyday tasks.We'll be substituting Shape Whiz for our old stand-by's Mancala and Chinese Checkers this coming year to add some spice to our days!  

~Coupon Code~~
To receive 15% off your first order placed by July 31, 2015 use code: SHREVIEW

SimplyFun also gave the Crew the opportunity to review Expanders; so be sure to check it out along with several of SimplyFun's new arrivals!

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   Find out how the rest of the Crew reviewed Shape Whiz:

Simply Fun Review

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@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


So, let me 'splain. My 14 month old lemon of an expensive computer died. Quickly and without warning. I got a new computer and madly worked to make up for the week of limping along on ds's computer at work. I worked a 50 hour week while the kids were at Shakespeare camp. We left for SC. I could not access my blog.
At. All. In fact, it looked, from a dashboard side, that I had no blog at all. Finally, 3 days, multiple hours and various browsers loaded later, I have access to my Golden Grasses dashboard.

My blog is such an old outdated piece of work, but I love it.
It's good to be back.
And I have a TON of pics and stuff to load- Shakespeare Camp, thoughts on the Circe Conference, Roman Roads Media love, South Carolina love, and Reviews galore. Stay tuned, because I will be writing and posting in between bed-bug de-toxing, working, working out, CC planning and tons of meetings and people over.

Thanks for reading!! @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Project Passport World History- TOS Review

Home School in the Woods Review 
I recently came across timeline notebooks that both Cub and Flower made years ago using the printable figures from Homeschool in the Woods CD that we've had and used for years. It is always interesting and exciting to me to catch up on what quality curriculum suppliers are doing, so we were very interesting in seeing what

Home School in the Woods Review 

Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt was all about. We received a down loadable PDF file, though there is a CD version as well. Project Passport World History Study program is a hands-on, interactive project based program. The program consists of ideas- many wonderful ideas- to do with your children, including but not limited to reading, map-work, art projects, food; in other words so many projects and ideas that you’ll have to pick and choose between them all.
The program is designed around 25 “stops” that can be spread out from 12-24 weeks. Each stop is like the stop a tour bus in a foreign city might take. Each stop invites you to stop, look, listen, smell, taste and see. This is an experiential program and one designed to provide the teacher with as many resources, options and opportunities as possible. And truly, the opportunities presented in this program are almost endless. You can take as long or as short of time at each stop as you would like, using this as a quarter long, semester long or year-long program.
The Project Passport program is designed for students in grades 3-8 but it could easily included younger or older kids, especially if used in a large family or co-op type setting. For a detailed Scope and Sequence, go here.
 Creative Writing
 A "Dining Out Guide" of Recipes
 A File Folder Game
 A "Scrapbook of Sights" for storing notebook projects
 A Newspaper "The Kemet Chronicle"
 A "Snapshot Moments in History" Scrapbook Timeline
 "Postcards from Famous Folks"
 Souvenir Craft Cards with a dozen 3-D projects to make
 Over a dozen Lap Book Projects ...and much more!
“Much more” is really a huge understatement! There is a massive amount of information, projects, and ideas included! The hard part for the teacher is going to be to decide which activities to include and do and which to leave untouched! Because there is so much content, I found the best way to use the program was to print off the materials that you’ll want to use. Put these in a 3-ring binder so that it’s all ready to go when you sit down to engage in the program. You could print off material as you go, but if you are a big-picture person, such as myself, printing everything all at once so that you have it in front of you and can organize it into one notebook, will probably be most helpful. For me, the ability to see the content, organize it and choose what I wanted to focus on allowed us to delight in the material, rather than get bogged down in the volume of it!
The down-loads include an actual passport so the kids have the opportunity to experience what it would be like to log their journey via passport. If you decide to participate in other Project Passport World History studies:
Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Egypt 
Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages 
Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation

your student will be able to add the passport they've already made. I love connections and this allows the students to see how all of history is intimately connected

This is an excellent hands-on scrap booking, note booking, project oriented program. The true beauty of this program is that you can focus on areas that appeal to your interest of learning, or your kids interests. For instance, my son doesn’t love activities per se, but he loves time lines and maps. For Cub we simply focused on the time lines and maps. He loves comparing ancient maps to current ones!

Flower, however, loves experiential, project based learning and the scrap booking aspect of this program greatly appealed to her. Because it’s summer and we have had a crazy schedule here since June I let her pick and choose what she wanted to focus on- we used the program as a bit of a smorgasbord. To me, that just shows how flexible this program is- you can use it as an in-depth full subject sequential study, utilize the sections that appeal to you, pick and choose specific areas of learning to focus on, go slow, fast, for a short or very extended period of time. Any way you use the Project Passport program will work successfully, because all of the components are built in! My favorite aspect of the program is how they incorporated every day life foods, games and activities- this is what make history come alive for kids- realizing that history is not just dates and places (thought those are very important aspects of good history) but it is comprised of people who ate, worked and played, just like they do.

 Terrific for homeschooling families, co-ops, academic class-days, and private schools. Great for unit studies, supplements for history, cultural and geographic studies. It's no wonder that Homeschool in the Woods is an award winning curriculum supplier and for good reason.

is one of highest quality in terms of conceptualization, delivery and content. 

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Home School in the Woods Review
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@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!