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  • Item #: 045857
    ISBN: 9780983099666
    Retail: $15.95
    Rainbow Price: $14.18

    We had a customer request for this book. The first reviewer in our office after spending a little time with the book suggested that it was a new approach to homeschooling – somewhere between classical and the principle approach. Another remarked (without a close look at the book) that she thought it was associated with unschooling. Actually, both observations have merit. Sometimes called Leadership Education, the goals of an education styled after that of Thomas Jefferson seeks to teach its students how to think and prepare them to be leaders in their home and communities, entrepreneurs in business, and statesmen in government.

    The author describes four phases of learning: Core Phase (years 0-8) when learning is the product of the structure and flow of family life providing a rich learning environment and a culture of self-education. Love of Learning Phase (ages 8-12) requires exposure to many areas of human knowledge, high standards of quality, and areas of exploration and skill-building. Scholar Phase (ages 12-16) when the student is ready to apply a new level of effort to personal academic achievement through the process of commitment and accountability and is exposed to a variety of options in materials and classic works. Depth Phase (ages 16-22) marked by a profound hunger to prepare for oncoming responsibility and future contribution to society.

    In America today we have three types of education – conveyor belt (move everyone along on the same track teaching them what to think), professional (prepare for a particular career teaching them when to think), and leadership education (prepare to lead teaching them how to think). The first two are based on the myth that it is possible for one human being to educate another. But author Oliver DeMille says “No!” Teachers teach and students educate (themselves). And a Thomas Jefferson Education is all about students becoming excited about learning and applying themselves to their own education. The means by which this is accomplished? Mentors and Classics – the two types of teachers that consistently motivate student-driven education. Mentors inspire through the transfer of knowledge, the force of their personality, and individual attention. The Classics were created by other great teachers to be the experiences of life found in books, art, music, and other media. DeMille goes on to describe characteristics of the mentoring relationship, how to teach using the Classics, and the learning environments conducive to successful mentoring. Other chapters include how to implement a TJEd in the public schools and in colleges, a look at leadership careers, and how statesmanship can make a difference in our society. He concludes the book with some excellent appendices – 100 Classics, Classics for Children & Youth, Sample Discussion Questions (covering 26 Classics), a recommended reading list, and a section called "Putting Thomas Jefferson to Work", which features step-by-step instructions for integrating the Thomas Jefferson Education into your family's life. 198 pgs, pb. Janice

  • Item #: 039235
    ISBN: 9780980072303
    Retail: $15.00
    Rainbow Price: $11.30

    It's easy to become a cookbook collector. The glossy photos of scrumptious meals draw you in regardless of whether the recipes are easy or the ingredients are easy to find! Our intentions are good, but somehow we just can't get around to pulling together an incredible meal every night. Well, cookbook author Rachel Masters takes a much more practical approach, almost guaranteeing that this is one cookbook that will spend more time on the countertop than on the shelf. As a mom with young children, she was frustrated with the time it was taking to develop a meal plan and grocery list for the week. To make this easier, she created a plan that rotated through all of the main dishes her family enjoyed, along with shopping lists to accompany them. In the end she had a twelve-week plan, each week complete with five main dishes, a dessert, a snack, and a shopping list. After using her plan with much success over the years, she now presents it to the rest of us in handy cookbook form. The cookbook presents thirteen weeks, each with a meal plan for the week, a grocery list (divided into types of food like produce, dairy, etc.), and the recipes. Each week features five meals, a snack, and a dessert. Weeks are broken down by meal, with each meal including recipes for the main course as well as side dishes. As a bonus, Rachel has included a suggested timetable for each meal, outlining when each task preparation task should be done for a six o'clock target dinner time. At this point, you may be mostly concerned about the meals themselves. Will your family like them? Glancing over the meal plans, I'd say they have broad appeal (remember, the author has several young children herself!). A sampling of the meals includes: chicken fajitas, beef stew, lasagna, shepherd's pie, pork chops, sloppy joes, french dip sandwiches, ribs, chicken over rice, sub sandwiches, split pea soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, pork tenderloin, and many more scrumptious-sounding side dishes I don't have room to mention. You won't find anything too specialized in here, just family-pleasing favorites. Of course, if everyone in your family dislikes a certain recipe, just replace it with one of your own and edit the shopping list to include those ingredients.

    Additionally, seven appendices include suggestions for breakfasts and lunches, using produce from your garden, recipes for special events and holidays, essentials for the kitchen, tips and ideas, making a few typically store-bought items from scratch, and some advice on family meal time (including suggestions to get children to try new things!). All in all, this is a great, practical resource for any busy mom struggling to shop and pull together meals each week! I know our family could have benefited from this approach when I was growing up! – Jess

  • Item #: 039229
    Retail: $64.99
    Rainbow Price: $57.95

    From one homeschool mom to another. Everything in this program is designed to communicate "I'm a homeschool mom that taught my kids to read. It's easy. It's fun! You can do it, too. Have a great time." And I'm sure if you follow Diane Hopkins' step by step approach wrapped with loving teacher-student interaction, that's exactly the result you'll get. After going through the just-the-right-size (25 pages) Teacher's Guidebook and looking through the brightly colored cardstock that makes up the program, I'm happy with the appearance of the product and really, really impressed with the content.

    Starting at the very beginning, Mrs. Hopkins has boiled the entire process down into eight steps. And even if step seven (teach phonics units containing two or more letters) has seventeen parts, she's still managed to make a homeschool mom's most fearful task into something that seems remarkably ordinary and doable.

    The package contains the Happy Phonics Guidebook, "My Big Book" (an almost-to-the-end-of-the-program-reader) and lots of printed, brightly colored paper and cardstock – flashcards, game components, first little readers and spelling lists. The Guidebook contains the Eight Steps along with specific how-to instructions for each step. The essence of the program is to introduce the phonics concepts a few at a time and then play games for retention. The author suggests that lesson time be about 10 minutes a day, but you may want to factor in more time to play the games over and over just because the student wants to.

    The Guidebook is extremely user-friendly and written in first-person, mom-to-mom form. The step-by-step instructions are straight-forward and easy to follow. All references to the games and other supplementary material are coded with little symbols found on the colored sheets. Practically foolproof! But just to be sure, there's a chart that lists which games/components are used with each teaching step. There's also a chart clearly laying out those seventeen phonics units that make up step seven. And, of course, the teaching aids are clearly marked for each unit.

    The teaching progression is common sense. Alphabet song; capital letters match lowercase letters; the main sound for each letter; blend letter sounds to form a word; teach common non-phonetic (sight) words; teach vowels that can make a second sound; teach through the phonic units; READ. Although she doesn't consider them absolutely necessary, the author does mention supplementary material that she likes and that her children have enjoyed – Lauri perception puzzles, Leap Frog Phonics Library, and the Explode the Code books. In fact, she changed her original letter presentation order (used with her older children) to conform to the Explode the Code books for her younger children and in this program. She also suggests various supplementary readers.

    The games and other reinforcement activities are obviously a central component of this program. Some preparation is involved, usually just cutting cards apart. I would be inclined to laminate (or cover with clear contact paper) some of the frequently-used cards and game layouts if I thought it likely I'd be using the program with a number of children. The games include some adapted favorites like Phonics Bingo and a number of creative originals like the Y Not? Game. The line art of the game components is not high tech graphics but still communicates the concept and looks inviting. Components of the games are color coded, with the little symbols marked on each game piece, so that you can easily unscramble things if they don't always get put away neatly.

    This program fits into the "complete program" category of phonics instruction, as it includes systematic phonics, reinforcement, and reading practice. The program gets your student reading on his own in an enjoyable way. Please note that it does not cover advanced syllabication, prefixes, and suffixes that tend to be found in second/third grade levels of some phonics programs. But it is an enjoyable program that will build the confidence of a newbie and provide ease of instruction for busy homeschooling mothers. All for a very reasonable price! - Janice