Friday, March 21, 2014

Five Minute Friday "Joy" 3/21/14

  I am 4. I am 7. I am 10, 13, 18. There is Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year’s Day. There are birthdays, graduations, retirements, housewarmings, christenings.

     And there is the everyday. Not occasions. But very special indeed.

     Backyard barbeques on crystal summer days. Charbroil and hickory wafting to seemingly endless summer sky, creating forever an imprint of happiness, bliss.  Of togetherness. Of safety.

      Emerald grass, lemon yellow marigolds and neon pink petunia, trimmed. Lawn chairs, neatly arranged earlier, now haphazardly strewn. Yanked by eager friends joining burgeoning, lively conversations. A day, lingeringly, gratefully, spent with friends sans daily rigor. Heightened by comfort, familiarity, ease. Love.

     There are Sunday afternoons slogging through wintry woods to a frozen pond deep within. Ice skates flung over shoulders and bumping with each step. Bright sun, radiant at eye level. Yet hiding behind full beauty of firs and leafless beauty of maple, oak. There is the anticipation, the newness of the adventure. But more so, the reveling in now.

     The walk. The talk. The silence in between. The being together.  
Joy in the everyday.

And since this is all about savoring the everyday,
 here's some Chesterton awesomeness to ponder 
around this very thing:

I'm thrilled  join in with Lisa Jo
 and Five Minute Friday 

I can't believe it's been a week since I 
hit "publish" here!
My space was fast becoming a place for the churning out of
 reviews and sponsored posts of late and boy, 
was I on burnout.
From that as well as general life.
I look forward to writing what I'd like to savor and  think through 
as I continue my blogging journey as a writer and as a  Mom.
And mainly, continuing to be graced by
 the blessings that abound
in the blogging community from all of you
who stop by, read, comment, or not,
and have made this road a surprising blessing.
~Thank you~

Please click to Lisa Jo's for more snippets of joy.

 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just enter your email address here
so we can be in touch regularly!

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Until next time,


Post dividers can be found here.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Parlez-Vous Francais? TOS Review of Mango Homeschool Foreign Language Program~French

Mango Languages Review
Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

You've most likely heard of Mango Languages.....
As a curriculum junkie, I certainly had!
And all good things, too.....
As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew,
I was privileged recently to use and  review
their latest endeavor,  a foreign language program,
 intended for ages 6 through to adulthood.
and geared toward  homeschoolers,
  Mango Homeschool

Here's a  peak at a language 
(that we did not study) through Mango: Latin:
A  couple of screenshots  so you can  see how attractive
 and friendly the translations and forums are.~~
Mango Languages Review
Mango Languages Review
Intriguing, no?
User friendly.
Kid friendly.
~How we introduced the program in our homeschool~
Initially, the plan was for each of my kids to study a language using Mango.
However, only my younger son was able, due to our schedule constraints,
to utilize the program.
He's been quite interested in learning French;
so, voila!
We were able to accommodate his interest level
and boy, was he excited!
Incidentally, Mango provides study of
 Canadian French as well as European French.
 He knew the version  he wanted (European!) 
But given that we vacation in the Adirondacks 
for a week each summer
and cross paths with many tourists from Ontario,
our curiosity was piqued  to check out 
the Canadian  component as well... 
but we did stick with his first choice.
~A Study of the Country and its Culture~
Before the French language was actually introduced, I wished to 
provide a bit of background on the country, culture and people of France.
My son auditioned for and was  granted a couple of 
call backs for a role in Les Mis, at a local community theater last summer.
Resources we used to prepare for his
audition, musically and historically, are here.
So the groundwork and fascination with the country,
as he researched the part of Gavroche and 
pre French Revolution France was already established.
Alas, he did not get the role. 
But learning about Victor Hugo and
the transference  of his masterpiece to the stage was, of course,
not time wasted!

Here are other resources we utilized to learn more about
La Belle France before embarking on the study of la langue:
National Geographic France for Kids
France Facts for Kids
Time for Kids: France

~Geography resources~
Political map of France
Political map of Europe
Physical map of France
Physical map of  Europe
Printable flag of France
~ Getting Started with Mango ~ 
Mango offers several extremely helpful videos  through Vimeo ,
which guide new users through creating and linking accounts and 
navigating the system.
Josh Hoover, Community Director, 
exhibited an infectious excitement toward the program through these videos.
How we used the program in our homeschool~
My son, an 11 year old 5th grader,
 used Mango Homeschool France several times per week.
The program was enticing in terms of the novelty and excitement around the
language study. 
Because my son is dyslexic, 
we found  the auditory nature and repetition
of the lessons to be quite  beneficial.
However, while the repetitive drill and 
translations in each "chapter"  and slide are
 vital for language acquisition
and proper usage, the program lost its appeal for both my son and me.
This truly is not a fault of the program; 
it simply did not work well with 
my style of teaching and his style of learning...
though he did internalize certain elements of basic French conversation.
I plan to  revisit  Mango Homeschool French
in the foreseeable future with a renewed perspective.
I reviewed a beta version of Mango, however,
here is what's currently available on the site:
*Over 60 different languages
*Progress Assessments

*Built-in journals, discussions and wikis
*Collaborative learning spaces
*eNote messaging
/chat rooms

*Access to embedded/downloadable content
Support from other community members

*Calendars to schedule meetings or study groups

Benefits of the Mango program~
There are so many, but I found these to be notable:
Because Mango Homeschool is set up as a forum,
 wherein users who are studying the same language
 are able to interact with one another,
practical conversational use as well as questions regarding the language
may be discussed.

Additionally, Mango works on any operating 
system and is not dependent on any one specific system
or any special equipment.
(Though users do not the updated version of Adobe.)

Should you need to exit the program in the middle of a lesson,
 your progress is saved.
You will resume at that point in the lesson,
upon  logging in the next time.

Users can switch between numerous languages, tackling  as many
at one time as they'd like.

The support is positively phenomenal.
I emailed  a question about navigating the forum
to Josh, who replied
helpfully and thoroughly,  in a blink.

~Mango Homeschool's Future Offerings~
Mango is still developing certain components of their program
and will be introducing other exciting features  over 
the next several months such as ~~
*Enhanced Tracking and Progress Monitoring 
 including seat time (for students and parents)
*Goals and Personal Lesson Plans
 (both stand-alone and tied into Mango courses)

*Resume and Portfolio Builder
* "Conversations,"  a section which will include quizzes and
additional foreign languages.
~Mango on Social Media~
For your further research and perusal,
I encourage you to connect with Mango.
Mango Languages can be easily found on social media:
Mango's  introductory pricing.:
1 subscription ~  
$18/month or $125/year total  

2 subscriptions ~ 
 $28/month or $175 /year total                      

3 subscriptions ~ 
 $38/month or $225/year total                     

4 subscriptions ~ 
$48/month or $275/year total                 

5 subscriptions ~  
$58/month or $325/year total

6 + subscriptions~  group rate, dependent on number in the group.

It was a privilege to benefit from Mango's
Homeschool Program and I do hope if 
you're contemplating  foreign language
study in your homeschool, 
that you consider Mango.

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time here at my home on the web!

Don't forget to subscribe to Campfires and Cleats
 by scrolling to the subscribe button at the  top left sidebar.
I'd love to stay in touch regularly.

Until next time,

For Crew members' reviews, thoughts and 
 creative uses of Mango Homeschool, please visit
 The Schoolhouse Review Crew web page~
Click to read Crew Reviews

Thanks to Plumrose Lane for the lovely post dividers!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Glow in the Dark Eggs, St Joseph's Feast Day & the Annunciation: "And the light shines in darkness..."

 and the darkness comprehended it not."
~John 1:5

I wish regular readers and new visitors who may be stopping by from 
TOS  Egglo Entertainment review linky, an enjoyable stay!

I was recently provided the privilege to use with my kids
 and review Egglo Entertainment's
unique new products,
Glow in the Dark Eggs and accompanying book,
The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure,
also  offered 
in book audio download version,
which is cleverly written and grabbed
the attention of  my
11 year old by page one. 
After we dye our eggs as a family on Holy Saturday,
he asked if we can  read the book again;
he's no stranger to quality lit and he l-o-v-e-d the characters 
and their discoveries!
I have a  feeling that kids everywhere will find the story 
enchanting, as it illustrates 
the message of Easter salvation .
The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide
is a 60 page guide which provides tips for  church groups
that wish to use the eggs in staging an event around Easter celebrations.
I found the guide intriguing and chock full of amazing ideas and guidance,
though we did not actually use it with our parish.

Egglo Review
Here are a couple of shots of Egglo's product ...
As you see, they are  enticing,  illuminated or not!
In addition to the eggs and the adorable picture book,
Egglo offers their  Treasures Scripture Scrolls, a package
of which contains 12 scrolls, each with a different scripture verse,
from both Old and New Testaments.
~How we used the Egglos Eggs in our homeschool~
Sure, the initial desire to weave the eggs into  Easter fun
and Lenten family activities is quite exciting!
However, because I was afforded the opportunity to 
adapt the eggs into any part of our 
Spring curriculum ( and because the review is
requested a month in advance of Easter!)
I am also enhancing our study of 
several holy days/ holidays in March
and  using the eggs as one way to bring a smile to
of each of my kids' faces  on any given day.
The eggs helped are a tool 
which helped me weave scripture and specialness
into our catechism and our family life recently~~
Scripture verses related to each  holy day will 
 be inserted into  the eggs and opened throughout those days,
placing them by each of our plates at meals, 
as we read, discuss and pray around each 
and before we read our daily  Lenten - related books,
which I discuss  in this post.  
And here are some of the Bible verses around these
days which I copied onto pretty
pastel pieces of paper to be discovered in each egg:

St Patrick's Day ( March 17)
You wouldn't know it from my last name,
 but this blogger is 100% Irish,
the granddaughter of Irish immigrants.
 And  darn proud of it.
Though my kids are only 1/2 Irish
<sniff> we celebrate with food, fun and prayer on March 17.
As we read about the heroics of St Patrick, the myths and the legend,
 the man who is credited with creatively and patiently
explaining the
doctrine of the Holy Trinity by comparison with
shamrocks  at his feet as he preached.
We will also enjoy these verses lit up  and discovered within the
Egglo Eggs:

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; 
and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." 
Psalms 33:12

"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, 
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."
 Deuteronomy 28:2

And  a verse relevant to the Trinity:

 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, 
and was baptized of John in Jordan. 
 And straightway coming up out of the water,
 he saw the heavens opened , 
and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 
 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, 
Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Mark 1: 9-11 

St. Joseph's Day ( March 19)
 This beloved  painting by Guido Reni in the 1620s, 
is one which epitomizes St Joseph's
devotion to his Son
and which has personally inspired  me to call on him countless times to 
intercede on my behalf as I pray
for my dad, my husband and for my own sons,
who will, hopefully, be fathers one day. "St. Joseph with Infant Christ in his Arms"
 is displayed in the 
 Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. 

We also, as a family,  pray the St Joseph Novenawhich is began nine days
prior to "the Guardian of the Redeemer's" feast day 
You can STILL join in  even though the novena began yesterday!
Please click here to receive email reminders
and learn more about this great intercessor and humble man!

Here are a few Bible verses which will be inserted into
our Egglo eggs to illuminate our prayer and readings of 
St Joseph, the patron saint  of fathers:
"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ cameabout: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18
           Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.Matthew 1: 19
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:20
 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

And lastly, take a look at this lovely 
St Joseph's Day wood craft
For details,please visit Jennifer's blog
Thank you, Jen!

 The decoupage crafts turned out lovely, no?

You can easily and quickly print colorful pictures, order wooden plaques
online, as well as some mod podge , and you're all set!
Enjoy that beautiful artwork in honor of St Joseph!

The Annunciation of our Lord's Birth ( March 25)
The lovely prayer known as The Angelus, which has fallen
out of favor in recent years, contains
parts of the powerful prayer to
the Blessed Mother, the Hail Mary.
 It can be written line by line and inserted into the 
eggs to be discovered on this feast day when Gabriel
announced Mary was with Child.
We will read scripture around Mary's YES while the eggs glow!
The Angelus Prayer is: 
The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 
Hail Mary... 
Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 
Hail Mary... 
And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 
Hail Mary... 
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, 
that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 
Let us pray: 
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, 
Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ,
 Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. 

Some interesting information around
who "wrote" the Hail Mary,
 how this prayer came to be and the Annunciation itself
can be found right here.

Friends, this is surely a product that you will want to investigate further
to brighten and enhance Easter festivities!
The myriad of ways in which these little glowing eggs
can be utilized to spread knowledge and awareness of Our Lord's message?

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

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