He is learning to love writing

I just love. love. LOVE. Write Shop Junior.

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Every-so-often something comes along and you just know it was tailor-made for your child.  That is how I felt with WriteShop Junior, Book D.  This writing curriculum just clicked with our 4th grade son, Hunter.  It was easy to understand and prepare for, and easy to comprehend and learn from.  It instilled a sense of confidence in Hunter, who up until 6 weeks ago would have run from the table, as if on fire, if I had asked him to write a paragraph, let alone a page.

This curriculum was created for 3rd, 4th and the reluctant 5th grade writers in your family.  Lessons are clear and concise.  I never felt lost in the Teachers Book.  It was clear where to begin each day and what days of the week to cover the work on.  Each daily lesson is divided into 30 minutes segments to teach.  They are fully scripted to ensure I would cover all the bases.  Prep time would run me about 30 min to an hour (depending on how detailed I was), every two weeks.

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The most time consuming portion of the program, for me, was setting up the Grammar Folders.  I did them all in one day, and it took several hours to get them trimmed, stapled, labeled and the bookmark portions laminated.  That said, Hunter loved those things, I had trouble keeping him from filling them all in at once!

The main stumbling block to Hunter’s writing has been his spelling.  It is pretty bad.  He always seems to get papers handed back to him covered in corrections.  This has always been discouraging for him.  WriteShop Junior, Book D, involves him in his editing.  No longer am I the big, bad, evil, wielder of the red pen.  He starts each editing project out by looking for the excellent work he has done and this softens the blow when he starts with his red marker on those spelling mistakes.  With each lesson he spells a bit better each time.

After all the editing, he was so proud of his published papers, he would tell us all 6 kajillion times what each and every sticker signified on the finished product.

Thank you, WriteShop for revolutionizing writing in our home.

WriteShop Junior, Book D sells for $39.95, and included the student worksheets, and all the pages needed for the Grammar Folders.  The Teachers Guide is $34.95.  You will want the Teachers Guide, Trust me…. it is where all the teaching comes from, you would be lost without it. Another item, and it is listed as optional on the website….  but in my opinion is the biggest time saver in the world…  The Time Saver Pack.  It sells for $13.95 and it is worth every penny.  Printed on sturdy colored card stock, all you need to do is cut and use or poke and play…  No hunting for paper and hoping you have the ink.  It will dramatically reduce the prep time you will need before every lesson.

WriteShop has graciously offered up a discount to you if would like to purchase their curriculum before the start of the new school year.  To receive a 15% discount on WriteShop Primary, and WriteShop Junior products (including e-book versions) use the coupon code CREW15 at checkout.  This coupon is valid until June 15th 2012.

We reviewed the product in it’s traditional print version, some of my fellow Crew Mates reviewed the e-version of WriteShop and share their opinions on our Crew Blog.  Be sure to stop by and read the reviews to see if there is a level of WriteShop that will work best for your family.

*****disclaimer*****

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a copy of WriteShop Junior, Book D, and the Time Saver Pack from the WriteShop, free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  I was in no way obligated to gush fervently about their product.  That happened naturally in the course of using it daily and seeing results with our student.  I don’t receive any extra special stuff, or monetary compensation (rats!) for writing a nice review, just the satisfaction of a job well done, and the ability to keep an amazing product for our personal use.

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Writing for the real world

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Writing.

It is one of those things that we want our children to do well. Have any of you run into a child that just detests the written word?  You know, the child that cries, whines, feigns the flu, begs to clean their room, ….. anything to get out of having to write you a well formed sentence, or heaven forbid, a paragraph.

This aversion to writing can creep up early and for my son (4th grade)  it is because writing something down takes too much time.  He would rather be playing than writing me a paragraph about the book he just read.  I remember with my older two children that in the middle school years we spent many hours learning how to write.  My goal was for them to be able to articulate themselves well upon their arrival into college, and with one in college at 16, I guess I did alright.

I would like to share with you my experiences with a new writing curriculum, geared to students in the middle school years.  The publishers of God’s World News and WORLD Magazine have developed a very engaging writing program.

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It does something that other writing programs miss.  It engages the students by allowing them to write about real things they experience everyday.  This isn’t a curriculum that has them writing about bugs, or the weather, or their favorite color; this curriculum has them writing about what messages an advertisement is trying to send them.  Rather than teaching adverbs and adjectives by just explaining the written words on the page,  Write with WORLD uses pictures and asks the student to describe what they are seeing as specifically as possible…. then building to the point where sentences are used to create vivid visual images for the reader. It approaches writing from a journalistic point of view, while teaching grammar and mechanics in a very conversational style.

If you would like to see the full table of contents the curriculum covers, you may find it here.

I used Write with WORLD with my 4th grader.  He has very little writing composition skills.  The material that we covered together was a bit of a reach for him in some areas of reasoning, but he met the challenge head on.  I might have had to rephrase a few questions for him from time to time, but with discussion and working together he was learning, and excited to learn more….  he would often say, “ Mom, can we do the writing one now?”

I think that this curriculum would be great for those families with children in grades 4-9.  It would be very easy to work on this curriculum as a group.  The daily capsules (lessons) are quick, and require very little pre- prep time.  You could spend about a 1/2 hour a week prepping for the weeks work, and it would be easy for you to ask an older child to skim through the teachers book and gather what might be needed. The book often refers a student to find an article in WORLD magazine to work from, we do not subscribe to that magazine, and had no trouble at all finding alternate articles or photos from other sources.

View a Sample Lesson

I would like to offer a suggestion to the creators; providing a table of contents or a materials list for the teachers book stating how many articles or other things we might need for each lesson, would certainly improve it’s functionality for busy homeschool parents. 

Pricing is currently set at $95.00 for the student and teacher book.  Both are NON- consumable, a student uses a separate journal to record their work.  Non- consumable books tend to take the sting out of the price, you know you can use it again with another student or sell it later to recoup some of the cost.

I encourage you to wander over to the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog, and see what other parents are saying about their experiences with Write with WORLD.

 

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as a TOS Homeschool Crew Member, I was sent Book 1 of Write with WORLD’s middle school writing curriculum.  I was sent this book free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received. 

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You want my kids to practice arguing?

This could be what you were thinking as you were skimming for curriculum and came across the title The Art of Argument:

“Really? I mean, have you heard them lately?  I don’t think they need much practice……. They argue nearly every moment of the day!”

To fully understand the title of this book, you must read the rest of it…… an Introduction to Informal Fallacies.  This book is much more than the squabbles over who is going to play with what toy, or sit in what seat in the car.  The arguments discussed in this book are very much about instilling a love of logic and critical thinking.

I will admit, that logic and critical thinking were not a subject covered formally in my middle school years, at least not at the private school I attended.  It was however covered very informally with my dad.  He would take me places and introduce me to things, for the express purpose of thinking critically about it.  He WANTED me to pick business presentations apart and have me tell him where they were flawed.  We would discuss the way a presenter tried to sell one point or another; all the way home.

The book, The Art of Argument: an Introduction to Informal Fallacies, is just like those moments with my dad, it uses scenarios and advertisements from newspapers and other media, to teach your child to think critically about all the images and audio they are bombarded with each day.

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It is written clearly and is very easy to understand. As I read through  the Teacher’s Edition I didn’t end up dazed and confused wandering the house with glassed over eyes, wondering what it was I had just read.  I understood it, and felt empowered to explain the concept to my 4th grader.  Yes, you read that right, 4th grader.  This book is marketed to Middle School children grades 6-8, however, with just a bit more conversation, and less book work, we made it very easy to understand for my 4th grader.  We review what we have learned as we shop around town.  We read billboards and ads in magazines as we are waiting to check out, and try to remember what fallacy they are representing.

Hunter also liked the Disc 1 that Classical Academic Press included as a sample of their DVD set.  It is a round table discussion on the fallacies that are discussed in chapters 1-6.  Since Hunter is such an audio visual guy, having this as a resource was wonderful, he could watch it over and over, each time absorbing more and more information, similar to when he watches the same television program 700 times. Smile

I would offer up to you that if you choose to use it with younger children to take the information slowly, teach it in bite sized chunks twice a week, and talk about it often when you see something that would be an example in real life.

Pricing: Always make sure you check with their website for any special pricing.

Student Text: 21.95

Teachers Edition: 24.95

DVD Set (5 discs, covers whole book) : 54.95

Bundle (Student and Teacher Text + All 5 Discs) : 88.95

Watch a Sample video about : The Straw Man Fallacy

Make sure you visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog to see what other families are saying about this product and Argument Builder, both from Classical Academic Press.

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Disclaimer:

As a TOS Crew Member I was given a copy of the Student and Teacher Text and Disc 1 of the set, free of charge for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received and I am only asked to write an honest review of the product.

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Exploring Literature from a Christian Perspective

I remember, waaaay back in High School reading several classic pieces of literature in my English classes.  The teacher always had a endless bank of questions that were designed to engage us in thinking about a book as more than just words gathered onto pages and creating a nice little read.  We were challenged to look at the world through the perspective of the characters, to understand the when, where and why of the setting the author had chosen…. That was the stuff that made literature come alive for me.  I will confess that it is the exact thing that gave me more than a bit of trepidation as a homeschooling parent.  I didn’t know if I would be able to replicate the amazing-ness of my high school English teachers.

To my rescue, comes the company Progeny Press.

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They sent me two of their literature study guides.  Pride and Prejudice for my High Schooler and The Bronze Bow for those in Grades 6-8.  I primarily worked with Hunter (4th grade) on the Bronze Bow study guide, so I can testify that they are indeed appropriate for those in even younger grades than 6th.

My daughter, Tayler, a Junior in High School, enjoyed going through the lessons designed for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  It is one of her favorite novels; she has read it for pleasure many times.  This was the first time she read it with literary analysis in mind.  She found the questions thought provoking and felt that they helped her to delve into the characters more deeply.  She really enjoyed working in the interactive PDF.  She could pull it up on her laptop and not have to carry around a large printed booklet to work from.

I especially appreciated the way it tied themes of pride, humility, control of one’s tongue to Scripture, and asked her to reflect on a possible different outcome of things if the characters had behaved according to Scripture.  It really puts this great work by Jane Austen into a whole new perspective.

Hunter and I worked through The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare.  First, let me just say that this is a wonderful book.  We are a little over half way through reading it and answering the questions in the guide.  I had never even heard of this book until this review and I am very glad we had a chance to read and review this guide.  The questions within the study guide are teaching him to pay more attention to the characters in a book; to ask himself questions about them, to infer, and predict.  It is also building his vocabulary.  For Hunter, we printed out several pages of the PDF file at a time to work on as we read each set of chapters.

The study guide draws from Scripture and asks you to read an compare a passage from the Bible with a section of the book.  We have really enjoyed reading the book and the time that it is giving us together as we work through the lessons.

Progeny Press offers you a chance to look at samples before you buyPricing varies by what might be on sale, the grade level of the study guide, and the format that you would like to use.  For example, I received The Bronze Bow via email; the price of the file would have been $6.95 + $3.00 processing fee, bringing the guide to a grand total of $9.95.  The cost would increase if you wanted a CD or Booklet version.  Please make sure you check their store for availability and pricing that would best suit your family’s needs.

Honestly, $10.00 isn’t a bad price, not for something that I can use over and over and over with multiple children as they come along.  It really turns out to be a great investment in your children to help them better explore literature through the lens of the Bible.

Don’t just take my word for it, be sure to check out the many other reviews on the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog

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Disclaimer:

I received two study guides from Progeny Press, free of charge, for the sole purpose of this review.  The above opinions are my own and those of my family members who used the product.  We are not obligated to furnish a positive review.  No other compensation has been received.

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Staying on Task, Clearly and Simply

 

Simple.     Organized.     Easy to Use.

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I like things orderly.  Looking at my desk, with notes and pencils splayed out in front of me you would not know that, but I do….. I like things to be neat and easy to find.  This need for order is exactly what appeals to me about the Task Cards, from Creek Edge Press.

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See how neat and compact the assignments are?  To best use the Task Cards you need a few resource materials:

A History Encyclopedia

An Atlas

An Encyclopedia Set

We do not have all of these resources in our home, but we were able to find all of them at our local library.  The “Teachers Book” that accompanies the Task Cards lists a great variety of literature books for you to use with the material. The book also lists each card, it’s topic of study, as well as what additional materials parents may need to gather from the store or from the internet to help the student complete that card.

We chose to learn about the Medieval World.  Creek Edge Press, graciously gave the TOS Crew Members the ability to choose our area of study from their list of products.  Hunter wanted to know more about Kings and Knights, Castles and Conquests, Popes and Dynasties.

So far, we have explored Rome and the collapse of that great empire.  We have, through our reading, learned more about how the divided kingdom affected the collapse.  We have studied Constantine and his importance to the church during their time of persecution. We have mapped that part of the world, and traced the routes of the Visigoths and the Vandals.…………and that was just Card 1.  We spent about 3 weeks on Card 1; studying from it about two days a week.

Prep time for me as the teacher is a few hours (about an hour or less a week).  I research the books we will use and reserve them from the library, then skim for the portions we will read and cover, the night before we will work on them.

This method of study supports several main teaching methodologies.  You could easily use it with the Classical approach, researching, responding, thinking and exploring.  It fits well with Charlotte Mason, you may use narration as your form of responding to the reading tasks that are on each card.  The cards also support a Montessori style, where the parents would organize the material and the child is allowed to investigate each point at a pace that best suits them.  Our family falls somewhere in the Eclectic range, taking parts of all three methods of teaching and applying them as they fit the situation….. We found that the Task Card Approach suited our family learning style to perfection.

Hunter and I have really enjoyed learning History this way. The organization keeps me on task and gently gives us a direction in which to tread.  It is a great way to get a whole family learning the same subject at the same time.  Older children can do the cards at their own pace leaving Mom or Dad to help the younger ones with reading their information.  Hunter and I can’t wait for our next big trip to the library to learn all about Augustine, the Barbarians, and the Christian Church in Europe.

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Priced at $20 a set, Creek Edge Press does a great job of keeping their material at an affordable price.  They have discount pricing for larger complete History or Science Sets.  They also offer studies in Art, Music, and Grammar.  Please visit their website for more information on each of the products they offer.

To see more reviews on all the different products that Creek Edge Press produces, visit The TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

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Disclaimer:

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a set of Medieval World Task Cards free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  Thank you, Creek Edge Press, for introducing us to your Task Card Approach to learning.

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K5 Learning

“Unlock Your Child’s Potential”

K5 Learning is a personalized online learning program for Math and Reading enrichment; structured to meet the needs of those in grades K thru 5.

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In our home, Hunter was the program user.  He is in the 4th grade.  The program offers and assessment test, which we took, and it placed Hunter where he needed to be in each of the 4 levels of the program.  I feel like it did a very good job of placing him into the correct Math and Reading levels, even if the Spelling words it chose were pretty tough for him. 

K5 Learning is comprised of 4 programs in one and targets the main academic areas of Reading, Spelling and Vocabulary, Math, and Math Facts (Drill).

K5 Reading helps kids become strong readers and develop a love of reading. This award-winning program covers phonemic awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.

Here the program started Hunter working on phonemic awareness.  He worked on many works with the silent “e”.  He also read stories and answered comprehension questions. The work done in this area was at some times repetitive, but Reading is an area Hunter struggles with, the program caught that, and placed him at a lower level than a regular 4th grader.

K5 Spelling is an advanced vocabulary program which improves language skills one word at a time. We feature adaptive instruction, automatic word generation, an optimized visual interface, and a 150,000+ word database.

Many of the words that were given to Hunter, I had to do some thinking on how to spell! The program is a bit different than others, it rewards the phonetic speller.  When you spell the word on the computer and hit enter, it will list the letters you did put correctly in the letter, below the word you are trying to spell.  It visually re-inforces the letters you sounded out, and keeps up the confidence of those who struggle with spelling by not making them start over every time they misspell a word.  They need only figure out the letters that they “missed”.

K5 Math is an award-winning program which builds self confidence and a deep understanding of math concepts. K5 Math covers numbers and operations, geometry, measurement (including time and money), algebraic thinking and data analysis.

Hunter LOVED this portion of the program.  He enjoyed the geometry, the faced paced responses of the system.  He is very much an instant feedback kind of kid.  We had a bit of trouble when it asked us to divide, that is a concept that we haddn’t yet covered, but it was easy enough for me to explain it in terms of Multiplication, and as I sat with him on those portions, we were able to accomplish the math problems that we were given.  If Hunter was given a choice on which section of the website to complete first, he would ALWAYS choose Math!

K5 Math Facts uses adaptive technology to help kids develop instant recall of basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Progress on each and every math fact is monitored until mastery is obtained.

We opted not to use this feature of the site.  We have a very special formula for working with Math Facts here at home, and chose not to change that for the purpose of this review.

I do enjoy working with a web based software from time to time.  There are days when it is very helpful.  It was nice to be able to have him do a bit of work on the computer in the evening, especially on days where we ran around on errands most of the day.  He could come home and work through some school while I was cooking dinner and we would feel like at least some work was accomplished that day.

Overall, I would have to say that I feel that this website is better suited as a supplemental curriculum, rather than an all inclusive one.  I would not feel comfortable using this as our sole Math/Reading/Spelling curriculum.  I did, however, very much enjoy it as a supplement, and felt we benefited most when we used it in that manner.   Being a family on an extreme budget; I do not feel like we would be able purchase and use the program at the price of $25 a month, we would need to find a more reasonably priced monthly option.

The company offers a 14 day Free Trial.

- no obligation

- no credit card needed

- free math and reading assessments

- 14 days of free lessons

Regular subscription pricing is available in Monthly or Annual installments. Monthly pricing is $25 for one child and $15 for each additional child.  Annual pricing is $199 and additional children are $125.   Please visit www.k5learning.com for more details about how your family might benefit from this program.

Make sure you take the time to read the other reviews on this product at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.

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disclaimer:  As a TOS Crew Member, I received access to K5 Learning as an extended free trial.  The purpose of this extended free trial was expressly for this review.  No other compensation has been received.  I am under no obligation to furnish a positive review.  Thank you to those as K5 Learning who graciously made their program available to TOS, and the Homeschool Crew.

 

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Eggs-actly what we needed

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First let me just gush a bit…  This reading program was fun, Fun, FUN!  Jeremiah, our 4 year old, loves to be grown up and do “stool” (school) like his brothers and sister; He gets even more excited when it is some “stool” of his very own.

Reading Eggs is an interactive reading program for children, that starts as young as 3 and grows with them through the age of 13.  Jeremiah used the very beginning level and loved every minute of it!  I loved that it was intuitive for him to use and needed very little monitoring from mom to complete the tasks.  It fostered a great sense of independence for him.  I would often use the time he was enthralled with his schoolwork to do a little more in-depth working with his older brother.  It created a perfect time window to provide one on one attention and work on pesky little things like Grammar or Math…. subjects that need a little more attention.

It teaches with a unique blend of Letter/Sound Recognition and Sight Words. Each lesson is comprised of about 12 shorter lessons, all building on the lessons before, reinforcing the letters, sounds and words used before.

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In the example above, a child would be asked to put the words in the correct order to create a sentence.  This is something I thought that Jeremiah might struggle with….  but with the younger students they call out each word, in the proper sentence order, focusing on word recognition.

One thing that I did notice that Jeremiah would do, that I really didn’t like. He would memorize the shape of the word and when called upon to match it, he would match based on the letter shapes and not really READ the word.  This happened about half of the time, and really depended on the game that he was playing.  This is one of the reasons that I do not like teaching with sight words exclusively….  If I noticed that he was doing this we would just make sure he was sounding out the words and not just guessing them.

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Children navigate through the lessons by completing a series of Maps. Each Map is made up of 10 lessons.  Lesson 11 is a quiz.  You must pass all the lessons to advance to a new map.  Typically Jeremiah will sit down and do 3-5 lessons in a day. Completion of quizzes earns you a certificate of completion based on how many you answered correctly. There are no pictures to match on the quiz, they must listen and choose the correct word or letter.  In our house, certificates are displayed proudly on the wall between the kitchen and the living room, for all to see. Smile

Subscriptions are available yearly for $75.00, every 6 months for $49.95, and at a monthly level for $9.95.  Reading eggs does offer multiple child discounts. While the pricing isn’t bad, it is not something that our family can afford at this time. If we are in a position to have an income that will allow for us to purchase this, we will most definitely do so!

Reading Eggs offers assessment test placement for each student, to assure they begin at just the right level for them.  We knew we were at the absolute beginning so we just started there, without using the assessment.

I know the program works.  Jeremiah recognizes the words from the first 3 Maps in print books, and in signs around town. The gift of reading is priceless and I would like to give a big thank you to the creators of this program for sharing it with TOS Homeschool Crew Members this year.

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See what other crew members are saying by visiting the Homeschool Crew Blog.

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disclaimer:

As a TOS Homeschool Crew Member, I was given access to Reading Eggs for a trial period of 3 months.  This extended trial period was for the express purpose of creating this review.  No other compensation has been received.  I am not required to furnish a positive review.

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A book that rescues bad spellers like me

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Last year, I had the opportunity to review an amazing reading tool by See-N-Read®.  This year I was able to review another product in the See-N-Read® family of products:

The 40-page, See-N-Spell™ booklet.It is SOOO cool!

It is designed to be easy to use and is broken down into three alphabetized categories:

  1. Most Commonly Used Vocabulary Words
  2. Commonly Misspelled Words
  3. My Special Interest Words

Hunter simply flips to the page showing the first letter (a,b,c, etc.) of the word, then scans down the page to find the word he is looking for.  Then he can copy the correct spelling right into his work.

With the help of the See-N-Spell™ booklet, Hunter has been able to use a wider variety of words in his sentences.  We use it often at Spelling time when he needs to write sentences that include his spelling list.  I really like the fact that the book includes homophones on the pages.  Those tricky words that sound the same but are spelled so differently, are paired with small definitions so that Hunter can chose the one that fits best into his sentence.

While the See~n~Spell Booklet contains many commonly used words, it also leaves room for you to write in it.  Yes, they want you to WRITE in your books!  There is a space for you to write down words that YOU or your child constantly struggle with…the My Special Interest Words, section. I will let you in on a secret, I use it too…  I am a chronic misspeller (is that a real word?) of the word receive, you just never know it because spell check saves my bacon….  I used the book today when I couldn’t remember if independence finished with –dence, or –dance.

Each See-N-Spell™ bookletalso comes with a See-N-Read® reading tool.

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We love the See~n~Read.  We have been using it since last year, and it is such a help when we are reading small print or things from research books.  It really helps Hunter stay focused.

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The See~n~Spell Booklet retails for $9.99, a fair price for the ability to have over 300 words at your fingertips.  It was created for use with those in grade 4 – Adult, and in our home, that has proven very true.  Nearly everyday you hear… “Mommmmm!, where is that spell book thing……???”  as someone scrambles to spell something correctly.

Please make sure you visit the See~n~Read website to find out more about their reading tools

To read what other Crew Members are saying about this product, visit The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Homeschool Crew Blog.

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Learn music at home

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This was our family’s second opportunity to review Kinderbach, an amazing way to learn Piano at home.

We really just have a great time learning piano this way.  Our primary reviewer was Jeremiah, he is Four and a perfect fit for Kinderbach’s target market of 2-7 year olds.

This is the most gradual learning product I have ever seen marketed.  It is broken down in easy to understand video lessons that are great at keeping the attention of young ones.  It slowly builds on the previous lessons until there is mastery of the notes and the different rhythms of each type of note. It does more than teach piano, it teaches music.

We enjoyed the multi-sensory approach to Kinderbach’s teaching.  Jeremiah sees the lessons, hears the lessons, can write or draw in the Lesson Books,

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and he uses his body to clap, stretch, stomp, and wiggle to the different rhythms of the notes.  My older son also finds the names of the Notes being taught as characters, help him remember where they are, as he practices his more traditional piano lessons.

The one thing we found hard to do was, play along on the piano with the lesson.  Our family computer is a desk top and the piano is in the next room.  Last year we had a laptop, and it was easier to just hook that up wirelessly in the next room.

I think that this program would be a great investment for a homeschool co-op. It would be a wonderful way to create a class for all the younger siblings to attend while their brothers and sisters learn other subjects.

I am excited to tell you that Kinderbach is making their product available on multiple mobile devices.  Lesson one is fully compatible with the iPad.  It makes me wish I had an iPad so I could have used it!

Kinderbach is very affordably priced at $20.00 a month for all 7 levels of their music curriculum.  Visit their website to learn more about their DVD product and their yearly pricing for home use and for school use.

You may access a 30% discount when you purchase Kinderbach at Home.  Use the Product Code:  TOScrew2012  This discount is good until 2/2/2013

Make sure you check out the other reviews at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog and see how other families used and enjoyed this product.

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draw, draw, and draw some more

Artistic Pursuits Logo

 

We have an artsy sort of family…  My Husband was accepted to art college and joined the military instead. (long story… I will spare you the details.)  I am a crafty gal…  cards, ornaments, entire rooms covered in paper vines…..  (an equally long story).  I have one that makes jewelry, one that sings and writes music.  Hunter likes to draw, I just don’t know how to teach it.  Or, didn’t rather, until Artistic Pursuits came along.

For awhile, my husband taught an “art” class one night a week to the kids and their cousins.  It was pretty cool.  They loved it.  Since then we have just muddled through art.  Usually, our 4th grade art is comprised of drawing elaborate battle scenes, bullets whizzing, helicopters flying, and blood oozing from anything that was unfortunate to meet with said whizzing metal objects.  It seems to me that Sunday Service , and the desire to do anything but sit still, is the time of utmost creativity among 9 year old boys. I realize that this time is not the most ideal time to teach art….  I can’t really stop him and remind him to use contrast, line and shape properly…. so, I just let him go.  Half the battle in teaching Art is getting them to just let stuff flow onto the paper.

Since things have changed and we don’t really have an available day for the hubster to be the art teacher, I have been looking at various curriculums to teach with.  Artistic Pursuits stumbled onto my radar when I was asked to review their product for 4th to 6th Graders (Book One)  The Elements of Art and Composition

When I first flipped through it, it reminded me of the projects I had seen happily hanging on the walls of the art studios of my youth.  Texture, value, contrast, line, form, shading, balance, depth…..  each lesson giving much room for creativity, while providing well drawn examples of the concept.  Not just teacher drawn examples, but ones from fellow students.  I was inspired… I wanted to get my sketch pad out and go through this book.  Hunter loved this program.  I should have installed a meter in is mouth to count how many times he asked me if it was art day…. can I do art….  where is my art book.   Smile

I liked how the supply list was easy…  pencils, a vinyl eraser, sketch pad, scissors, glue sticks, a couple of graphic markers…  Nearly everything on the list we already had here at the house.  Each unit was easy to follow and took about 2 weeks to complete.  We did 2 lessons a week, meaning we use the book twice a week, the drawing happened almost every day.  Hunter was eager to practice the new skills he was learning.  You know how I knew he was learning?  His Sunday morning battle scenes began to change.  They had smoother lines, more texture, depth was being created with the use of shading….  I will admit it.  It was cool.

I will also admit that I am a wee bit excited to move on to Book Two next year.  It is about Color….. messy, wonderful, color…. Smile

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Each of the books produced by Artistic Pursuits, are non-consumable, that means you buy each book once and be able to use them year after year with child after child.  Priced at $42.95 the book we used was comprehensive and I feel it was affordable for a year long art class.  Each book contains more than just lessons on technique there are pages with Art History and mini bio’s of the artists. 

The people at Artistic Pursuits have created lessons for the whole family from Pre-K up through the High School years.  If you are an adult wanting to learn to draw follow along with the kids, I am sure you will enjoy the lessons like I have.  Visit www.artisticpursuits.com to find out more about all the great products they offer.

TOS Crew members reviewed a wide variety of products by Artistic Pursuits visit the Crew Blog to read about the curriculum nearest to your child’s grade level.

***Disclaimer***  I received a copy of Grades 4-6 Book One The Elements of Art and Composition free of charge, solely for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.  All of the opinions expressed above belong to the family  members who were involved with reviewing this product.

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