Tuesday, May 31, 2011

new home

I just wanted to make sure you know where to find me :)

my new blogging address is


make sure you re-follow, I don't want to miss chatting with you through the summer and into next year!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eagles Wings ~~ Exploring God's Creation ~~

When this curriculum arrived, and I began to flip through it...... I smiled a satisfied mommy smile.....  the one where you can tell after about 5 minutes of flipping, you are really going to like this.......
Exploring God's Creation is a great science curriculum.  You can use it with 2nd to 7th graders.  It is such a great spring board for in depth study.

It covers everything from the creation to the parts of a cell.  The Curriculum is comprised of a Teacher's Manual, a student consumable book, and a CD with songs.  Have I ever told you how much I love teachers manuals?  Well I do..... they make my heart happy.

 I loved that the Teacher's Manual contained the text, it was a delight for my struggling reader to be free from reading in science.  The student book contains worksheets but some of them are actually projects, making this a very hands on way to learn.  I appreciated the Digging deeper section.  There were great ideas to expand the learning process.  Books to check out from the library or activities to try.  We chose to learn about the Universe while we were reviewing the product, and we made a star projector,  the solar system...and a volcano!

If you are a parent of a multi-level homeschool....  Exploring God's Creation might just be perfect for you.  It would be so easy to adapt to each student's grade level and eliminate the need for 5 different textbooks lying around.  The Student Book is fully reproducible, or you can purchase additional books for $13.95... that is VERY affordable !!  I only used it with one child, but I look forward to using it again with my youngest in a few years. 


The whole package is $29.95, and the CD is included.  The CD was a great way for kids to have little ditty's to remember lessons with.  I was very thankful that someone else was singing these songs..... because I tried to make up some tunes to the songs as they were listed in the Teacher's Manual....  and well.......  let's just say my singing and tune creating abilities need to remain confined to the shower.... (wink, wink)

We will definitely continue to use this science curriculum through the summer months.  We really have enjoyed our time with it over the last month.

For more information and to see some of the other products that Eagles Wings has to offer visit their website www.eagleswingsed.com and click on Products. 
Don't forget to stop by the TOS Homeschool Crew blog and see what other families are saying about Exploring God's Creation.

as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received Exploring God's Creation, free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

we're moving

At the end of May I will be moving over to my new blog.

You will be able to find me at http://www.ateachingheart.com/

I will move all of the posts from this blog and "a day in the life" over to this one place in cyberspace.  I hope you will all still follow me as I share bits and pieces of our life in this new spot.

Right now there isn't much over there,  Just my about me page.... and a very blank and lonely google connect widget. 

I am getting the hang of the new format and I am really enjoying the flexibility of it.  Stop by... and say HI!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reading Street ~~~~ Pearson Education


Pearson Education gave members of the TOS Homeschool Crew the chance to review several of their products.  Our family was chosen to review their Second Grade Language Arts, student texts, Reading Street 2.1 and 2.2 by Scott Foresman.

***I believe that it is only fair to mention that these books are completely mainstream Public School textbooks.  They are created to be used in conjunction with a certain method of teaching, and usually are accompanied by teachers manuals.***

Each Textbook costs $43.47
A two book set is $86.97
DVD-ROM Version of the texts $86.97
Weekly Tests Student edition $ 7.97
Weekly Test Teacher Manual $41.47
Unit Teacher Manual $38.47 each (12 volumes in set)


What I did like:

  • Units were well organized.
  • Broad Range of Literary Choices.  (Poetry, Folk Tales, Fiction, Non-Fiction)
  • Built in Grammar Reinforcement
  • Writing and review sections.
  • Very colorful pages
  • The stories were all very age appropriate.

Hunter did enjoy reading out of these books.  The non-fiction pieces were his particular favorites.  It is likely that we will refer to them again and use them as supplemental reading.  We, however, prefer books that are less textbook-ey. (how is that for a new word?)

  • A more user friendly website.  It is very geared to the purchasing departments of large public school systems.
  • Make Teachers guide samples available.  Homeschool parents often need to just see a small model to better understand how the product is intended to be used. 
  • Homeschool Friendly pricing. The cost as it stands now, is very prohibitive to the home education population.
While I was not supplied with Teachers Guides.... (and I understand why.... they are very expensive)  The books as they stand alone, are not difficult to use.  We would read a story, and then talk about it.  If it was long we would divide it into 2 days.  We would orally go over the Reader Response questions.  The writing section walks you through building a composition nicely.  These books are an enjoyable way to expose your child to many different types of literature, especially if you take the time to read more books from the featured authors, throughout the school year.

While I don't feel that this type of textbook teaching is the best fit for our family, I know there are many people who homeschool very successfully with them.  If you think this product would be a fit for your family, please visit the Pearson Education website and see some of the many products they have to offer.

Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog to read more reviews about this product and others by Pearson Education.

as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I received the two student texts for Reading Street, free of charge,  for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are my own.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Word Qwerty


Talking Fingers has created a Reading and Spelling Software for children aged 7-9 or in the Second and Third Grades. Word Qwerty picks up right were Read, Write and Type, another product from Talking Fingers, finishes.

Comprised of 20 lessons, Word Qwerty focuses on teaching the following spelling rules:
  •   Silent E
  • Sounds of C
  • Sounds of G
  • J or DGE
  • W or WH
  • C or K
  • CK or K
  • CKS or X
  • CH or TCH
  • LL, SS, FF, ZZ
  • OI or OY
  • VE Words
  • Open Syllables
  • Double Consonants
  • Doubling rule
  • ER, IR, OR, UR, EAR
  • I Before E
  • Plurals: Add ES
  • Plurals: Y to IES
  • Plurals: F to VES
There are many different games your child will play to help reinforce all of the spelling rules.  Hunter's favorite game was the balloon pop.  The program gives you a sentence, and you have to recognize each different word in in the sentence on a balloon.  Don't go too fast.....because the program tries to trick you !!!  you have to watch carefully to make sure that you have the right word before you pop! 


Games like the one above were great to help him discriminate between the beginning sounds of words, something that Hunter does struggle with.  He was able to see the word... and a picture to match the word, and then place it in the right list.

There were portions of the program that Hunter was very frustrated with.  There was a dictation game, and if you didn't type as fast as the program thought you should be.... It would talk to you and tell you to put your hand is a certain spot on the keyboard... (which is where they were but Hunter did not type fast enough.)  He would become very aggravated !!  It would halt his progress, because it would "freeze" the screen while it reminded you how to type.... and then you would have to begin again.  After a few weeks of playing and trying to get faster.... I would eventually just sit and type out those games for him.  He could repeat back what the game said.... just not input it in quickly enough.  Nor did he spell well enough to not have the game beep at him 50 times in a sentence.
If you would like to see the games played, they have created a video for parents to actually see the program in action.  To see a video of Word Qwerty click here.
Talking Fingers offers Word Qwerty in two different formats.
The online version which is a five year subscription

Or you can purchase a CD version.  ( note it is NOT  compatible with Windows 7 or Mac 10.6)

I really feel that Talking Fingers has done a great job and keeping their program affordable... especially for those families with multiple children in the 7-9 age range.  Their program is entertaining, and doesn't feel like you are doing the same thing over and over again.  As the parent, you can set the Mastery level from behind the scenes and build confidence by allowing your child to progress through the levels without becoming too frustrated with wrong answers.
While it wasn't an overall best fit for our family, there were many components we did like, and they DID reinforce and help Hunter grasp some of the spelling concepts.
Talking Fingers offers a variety of programs to teach typing, reading and spelling.  Stop by their website at http://www.talkingfingers.com/ and see their product list, or to contact them directly if you have additional questions.
Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to see what other families have to say about how Word Qwerty worked for them during their school days.
as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, Talking Fingers provided reviewers with limited time access to the online version of Word Qwerty.  This access was solely for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was received.  All of the above opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mad Dog Math


Mad Dog Math is a program designed reinforce math facts with your child. It is geared to grades K-5, but the struggling middle or high schooler might find it helpful as well.

There are several versions of Mad Dog Math available, if you need it for a co-op or classroom please visit their website http://www.maddogmath.com/ for more information.

In our home we used the down loadable Home software. It is available at three different prices.

A one year license: $19.99

2-years: $29.99

the forever license: $39.99

Mastery based, it begins with addition and moves through to division, breaking down fact families into bite sized pieces to master.

The goal is for the child to answer the problems in 2 minutes and then 1 and then eventually in 30 seconds. They can earn *stickers* as they complete different fact families. The time commitment for the program is only 10 minutes a day... freeing you up to work with another child for a few minutes or change over that load of laundry.

I appreciated the ease of download and set up and the small size it took up on the screen. It was also nice that the program moved from question to question.... enabling the child to move quickly through the problems. It is a very straight forward, fact learning program, that helps your child understand the WHOLE problem not just memorize an answer. I also feel the price is very reasonable

Even for all the things we liked about the program... I regret that it is not a fit for our family. Hunter was our primary user of this program, doesn't do speed timing so very well. He becomes very frustrated with not being able to meet the deadline.

I have also begun to realize that Hunter is a visual Right Brained learner. He can learn and practice facts forever, but unless he has a mental picture of the answer, it won't stick. Teaching him facts with BLANKS in them..... he will recall the BLANK and not the answer. This has led us to teach him math facts in a less flash card-ish ( is that a word?) type of way.

I know that this product was such a blessing to many families, and it may well be perfect for your family. Please visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog and see what other families are saying about this great product.


Mad Dog Math supplied members of the TOS Homeschool Crew with a version of their software for free, for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received, all of the above opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Moving right along.......

After some thought..... and the issue with blogger last week..... and one of my posts for a vendor being lost to the never ending chaos of cyber space.......

Not receiving any response what-so-ever to my queries to Blogger customer service....

I am leaning toward starting a Wordpress blog... and self hosting a site, and combining both of my blogs into one site.  Trying to write two distinct posts a day isn't really isn't working out too well.

The whole process has been a learning experience......... that being:  BACK UP EVERYTHING!

I really hate to move.... in real life or blogville......the thought of moving gives me hives.....
I hope that you all will stick with me through the move....

.............considering it doesn't mean I need to borrow any one's truck or anything.....

Monday, May 16, 2011

unlock a world of wonder with WONDERMAPS... by Bright Ideas Press.

Now, in your best Superhero Narrator voice.... say  WON-der MAPS!!  because that is how I hear it in my head.  (sorry had to share that....  I will get on with the review now......)

Have you ever been working on a project and wished that you had map to go with it?  Ever wished you could just find a map of the States, or even just ONE state without having to comb through sixty websites to find on that could print to fit one page?

Well, I found it for you.  A map program that does all that and more.....

Bright Ideas Press.... Bright Ideas Press Logo
one of the all time great curriculum providers for homeschoolers...... has hit it out of the park again..... with their new product WONDERMAPS.
Wondermaps Logo

This product WILL be used by every member of your family, no matter what grade level.  It will be used by your high schoolers as they work on New or Old Testament Survey courses.  It will be used by your elementary children as they learn about the States.  You, your husband, and your kids will use it for your personal bible studies....  it really is amazing.

A BRAND NEW product........priced at $49.95, for over 350 maps.....  It is a VERY worthwhile investment for your homeschool.
Let me see if I can explain to you what sets WONDERMAPS apart from the maps that you can get free off the Internet... ( Shhhhh don't tell anyone, I am a big freebie map finder.  I don't like to pay for maps.)  

{Reason 1 : }  Saves time!  Sometimes in my quest to never pay for maps... I spend half a day searching and searching for the perfect one with the perfect information for the lesson we are on.  I so easily forget that my TIME is WORTH something.  While I may not pay for the map in money..... I way over paid in TIME...  and believe me my laundry room, and kitchen are both wrecks because of it!

{Reason 2 :} I can't manipulate my "free" map.  WONDERMAPS......  is completely adjustable.  Each map is made up of a series of customizable layers.  So you can print in color... or black and white.... you can print topographically or not.  You may have latitude and longitude lines or not.  Take away state names or leave them.  Test on state capitals?  Print out maps with them.... and go back and create a test map to print with out them.  By far, I have to say that this is the BEST feature of the program.  Being able to make the EXACT map you need to fit your school needs.... is stupendous.

Check out the map of Australia here.....  to see the difference in some of the layering effects.



{Reason 3 :}   The program already contains maps from existing history curricula. 

If you use Mystery of History, or All American History....  WONDERMAPS has the maps loaded right in!  When I used MOH 1 a few years back.... I cut all the maps out of the back of the book with an exacto knife.... categorized them and have kept them neat for the last few years until the next child needed them.  While the maps are not available with layering.... they are EXACTLY like they are in the text book.  There are answer keys.....  Now with a few clicks you can have all your maps for the year printed and filed.... ready to go. I probably would have sold a kid to have something like this a few years back for MOH.... now with a child using it next year....  I can't wait to use WONDERMAPS to help make all the mapping lessons easier!

P.S.... if you register your product on the Bright Ideas Press website...... they will send you updates of new maps when they become available.   I hear a MOH 4 is in the works and they will send you the updates for that when they are available.

I really could go on and on... but I think it only fair to let you watch a tutorial of the product (the same one I viewed before beginning to use WONDERMAPS)  and see for yourself all of the great things that it can do.

Cool eh?  That is what I thought too after watching.... I couldn't wait to get started !   Oh and I almost forgot to mention that there is a Teachers Guide with lots of helpful ideas, and a sample Unit Study.  It even has a recipe for making salt dough maps!  You really could just cycle through all of the Themed Maps and use this program for Geography on its own. 

Head on over to Bright Ideas Press and see some of the other wonderful and affordable History, Science and Geography products that are available for use in your homeschool.

A big thank you to the folks who created WONDERMAPS....... you have cured me forever of searching endlessly on the Internet for maps.  I will now just open my WONDERMAPS and know that I have exactly what I will need all in one place.

Lots of other families reviewed WONDERMAPS in their homeschool.  Visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew page to see what things they are saying about this product.

If you are a TOS Magazine subscriber.  Look in the Spring Edition...... There is a coupon for 20% off of WONDERMAPS

Bright Idea Press supplied TOS Homeschool Crew Members with access to WONDERMAPS free of charge for the purpose of this review. No other compensation has been received.  There is no obligation to provide a positive review.  All of the above opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hurray! Hurray! It's May! and the Schoolhouse Expo is on the WAY!

So it's Sunday... and in my house that translates to a relax day.  There is church in the morning and evening, but in the middle..... it is movies or naps.... 

Today, while the DVD is playing "How to Train your Dragon"  for the 6 kids that happen to be in the living room...... while dinner is in the oven finishing up.....  I decided to sneak a peak at my emails.....

I have been very busy getting the garden done and helping some friends get their farm in order....  writing reviews.... I haven't even had time to run a load in the washer...

And ever in the attempt to avoid the laundry....  I am sitting at the computer cleaning out the inbox....  it's still work right?

Anyway, in my inbox there were reminders for the Schoolhouse Expo that is starting tomorrow!  I can hardly believe it!  It is here!

I was snooping around the Schoolhouse Expo page, looking at the speakers and deciding which of them were going to be MUST listens ( like sit in front of computer and take notes sort of listen) ... and the ones that I can listen to with one ear while I do other things....

I stumbled upon the door prize list....  Have you seen this thing?

Normally I skip the door prize page....  As an independent contractor for TOS...  doing reviews....  I don't get to play along during the give aways...  But for some reason today, I was just curious to see what it was they were giving away.......

All I can say is WOW!

One prize is a two night stay at Jenness  Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.....  I was floored!  I used to do there for Winter Retreats when I was in High School Youth Group!  It is so beautiful up there.  The family that wins that prize will be blessed for sure!

There are High School Elective courses, give aways from colleges....Latin Curriculum's, an IEW course (VERY VERY COOL!) ... and the most amazing Map program I have ever used..... Wondermaps, from Bright Ideas Press.

I really think you should check out the prize list for yourself.... go to:  http://www.schoolhouseexpo.com/?page_id=10155

I hear there is going to be scavenger hunts in the Vendor Hall this year.... so make sure you add The Schoolhouse Expo website to your favorites list so you can get there FAST!
Don't forget to "like" the Schoolhouse Expo page on FB .....  I know I stop by there during the Expo to talk about the great things that the speakers are saying. 

I really can't wait to see you at the Expo tomorrow!

Friday, May 13, 2011

End Eye Rolling with Institute for Excellence in Writing, Student Writing Intensive C !!

So..........How are you doing with teaching writing to your kids?

Yeah.....  I feel ya....

*insert sheepish look here*  I haven't done the best either.

Trust me....  it is not for the lack of trying..........I have tried.

I bought books that said they were for reluctant writers.  I bought cute little notebooks.  I thought of creative writing prompts....  I begged, I pleaded, I cajoled......absolutely everything I tried to do to make writing  fun, engaging, interesting or creative.... was met with..........

EYE ROLLING..........  and those little pshahhhhhhhhh noises that sound like your teen has some how morphed  into a pressure cooker.....

So, after a few years of banging my head into the whiteboard on the wall........

I just gave up.  I figured that by the time they got to college....  a few failed papers would be a catalyst to sharpen their writing skills....

With absolutely nothing as a writing program in use for a year or two.... it was me who was rolling her eyes when I found out that I would be reviewing a writing program....

I will admit that I was scared....  afraid that again another program would be tried.... and that I wouldn't be able to get the kids interested in it.... and that there would be moments I would have to duct tape them to the couch so we could get through this...

I stand before you ( well sit really, because I have to sit to type....  I can't type standing.... but you get the point.....)  to say........


After the first two lessons they actually asked to do it.  They asked to do it on Saturday's!  (what? who does that?)

You know what I heard every single time they did the lessons?

Laughter.  blissful laughter.

They would laugh and laugh and laugh through the DVD's.    They walked around for weeks telling each other that someone was in deep yogurt.....

It wasn't just laughter.... that was happening as they watched Andrew Pudewa teach.....  There was LEARNING !!!  Delivered in an easy conversational style, Mr. Pudewa draws the students in and makes the learning of writing skills enjoyable.  Clearly, a talent I lack.

For this review we used the Student Writing Intensive C.  This course is designed for high school students that, for whatever reason, need a jump start in writing.  It was filmed during a week long class, but it is broken up into a very manageable lessons.  They even include a 30 week schedule for you to use the program over the course of an entire school year!  It was a wonderful thing not to have to think about creating a schedule.  All we had to do was follow the one that was already created for us!

Things I   liked  loved! :
  • There were teacher notes to go with EVERY lesson.... this made me look exceptionally smart to my already hip, and knowing everything teens.
  • There was a teacher..... and this time it wasn't me ! 
  • Lots of samples
  • There was a notebook where my children could keep all their writing work in one place!!  ( AMEN!)
  • The portable wall
  • It was a pain .......and eye rolling free curriculum

What the kids have to say about it :

Evan (17, and a junior) :  I enjoyed the straight forward delivery style of this program.  It was funny, and engaging.  I have fallen asleep during other attempts to learn about writing.  This program was too interesting to sleep through.

Tayler (15, and a sophomore) : I like it. It was a fun way of learning how to write.  Mr. Pudewa made learning something that can be confusing, easy. 

Student Writing Intensive Level C is available for $99.  For that price you receive the 4 discs of  DVD lessons and a teacher's notebook that contains all the student handouts and dividers.

 Additional student books are sold for $18.  In my opinion.... if you have more than one student, just buy the extra notebook.  We copied pages for this review... and for the cost of printer ink these days.... the $18 is worth every single cent, not to mention your time copying page after page.

IEW also sent us this nifty Portable Wall.  It has all the whiteboard information on it.  I was amazed at how often it was referred to, especially when the kids were writing and editing their compositions.  The Portable Wall is available for $7.  I recommend one per student using the program.... we shared... but it was hard when they were both working on something.  It would have been nice to have two.
Ever generous in the material that they supplied for us to review, IEW also included the DVD titled; Structure and Style Overview. At only $10, I strongly suggest you purchase it.  Think of it as teacher's notes. Taken from a seminar, and with handouts available for download,  it is Andrew Pudewa teaching parents how to teach writing. Can I get an AMEN ?!?  It is a shortened version of Teaching Writing: Structure and Style ($169).  But it goes along very nicely with SWI Level C.

I can not possibly list here all of the products that are available by Institute for Excellence in Writing.  I can only offer up that if they are all to the caliber we experienced with this program.  They are worth the time, and money to be used in your homeschool.  Please take the time to visit their website and see the many products that are available.   http://www.excellenceinwriting.com/

Read what other families are saying about this product and other writing products by IEW, by visiting the Homeschool Crew blog.

If you have other more specific questions regarding the material, please feel free to leave me a comment.  I will answer them all to the best of my ability.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the above products from IEW, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been given.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Homeschool Mothers Journal 5.10.11

weeelllllll  once again I missed the link up for this one.... but I did have a productive weekend...  that has to count for something....

In my life this week…

I have been all about the garden.  I have been eating, sleeping, drinking....  slaving in the garden!  I count it all joy for the nummy-ness it will produce.  Now, if it will stop being so stinkin' cold and let my vegetation grow....  I would be a happy girl.

In our homeschool this week…

I made some great flashcards for Hunter to help with spelling.  The big kids took a test to see if they would qualify to enter a program called Running Start, where high school kids can attend college for two years and receive their AA concurrently with their Diploma.  One passed.... one did not.  The did not child seriously missed by what must have been just a few questions.  The fall semester doesn't start till the end of September.  We are evaluating if we want to just CLEP some classes next year, or study and try again for entrance to the community college.  I have no doubt they are intelligent enough to do the work required in college....  I just think someone froze on the test :)

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Saturday was the start of the Farmers Market.  While we were there we ran into my husband's cousin (whom I had never met) she and her husband were with our nieces and nephew.  That was a fun a pleasant surprise.  Then my hubby, ran into an old co-worker and chatted with him for a bit.  He was Mr Popular for the morning. 

Then there was the car wash to help support the Young Marines....  they washed the truck very nicely. 

Today is the Car Race and Awards to finish out Master Clubs....  everyone was up until 1 am working on their derby cars last night.....  well, everyone but me and Jeremiah.  We were the smart ones.  We were in bed.

My favorite thing this week was…

Meeting another member of my husband's family.  They are not a close and chatty family.  Everyone tends to leave the other members alone.  It was nice to meet a new member and hear that she was looking to move closer.

What’s working/not working for us…

the nicer weather is not working at all.  I swear to you, I can not keep that Hunter-boy indoors for longer than two seconds.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Can I duct tape him to the chair and get away with it?   LOL!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Kinda hungry for this right now...............

Join Sue on Friday's and link up to HSMJ @ The Homeschool Chick

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monki See ~ Reading DVD's for babies.


Monki See is a fun and interactive product produced by Intellectual Baby, llc.   We were given the opportunity to review their Volume 1 DVD, Baby's First Words which is available for $19.95.  Monki See also included their book Know Your Monkey for us to review as well.  It is available for $9.95.

These products have been created for children ages 3 months to 3 years old.  They are however, geared to help your child begin to learn how to read during that special window of time between birth and 5 years old when children learn many things with ease.

In our home, Jeremiah (age 4) was the primary user.  The first few times that he watched the DVD he was not to interested in it.  At. ALL. Being at the top of their age range, I wasn't surprised.   However, over time he became more entranced.  I found that if I sat with him through the show, he was more likely to watch it to completion.  He would  become most distracted during the baby items sequence... since bottles and pacifiers are not really on his radar anymore. 

He did enjoy the remainder of the words that were on the DVD and would instruct me to touch my "cheets", "net" or "ton" like the kids did on the "moobee". He even declared "dis show" to be his "favwit" on more than one occasion. 

Jeremiah really enjoyed the book Know Your Monkey, and asked for it to be read to him often.  His 8 year old brother would read it to him when I was not available.  He has the pages fairly memorized, and that is one of  the first steps to reading on his own. 

I like the idea of teaching children to read at a young age,(before 5) and I would agree that this program could do that very thing.  I would have enjoyed a bit more time to review the product to see if we could achieve some concrete word recognition...  we will continue to use it, and I will update you in a later post as to how Jeremiah's word only, with no picture, recognition is coming along.

Monki See has put together an incredible deal they call the Reading Kit  it is available for only $139.95.  If you are planning on using this with more than one child it is quite a good investment.

It contains over 800 words for your baby to learn and set them on the path to greatness!

Stop by http://www.monkisee.com/ and see if their product is a fit for your family, and don't forget to read what other families are saying at the Homeschool Review Crew site.

as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received a Monki See DVD and book, free of charge for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  All of the above opinions are those of the people who tested and used the product.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spelling struggles

It really isn't a secret, I have shared with you for awhile now that Hunter struggles with spelling. 

The frustrating thing for me has been that the words he struggles with are what one would think were "easy" words.  No other child of mine has struggled this way with words. 

At the risk of sounding like a commercial for Dianne Craft, I will again mention how much her presentation at the Schoolhouse Expo was so revealing for us.  It was like having a window into how Hunter learns!  You can read about that ah-ha moment here.  I really can't wait to hear her speak again this month!  somewhere between the 16th-20th!

I wish I could invite you to listen in on what she has to say live, but the live tickets are all sold out.  I guess I could invite you to hear it live.....  you will just have to come over here to my house.  Let me know if you are coming so I can set up the spare room for you!

Man....  I am easily distracted!  Back to the SPELLING part of the program!

Anyway.... today I decided to use the list of Dolch sight words to see which words Hunter was having the most trouble with.  I read out the Pre-Primer and Primer list of words to him, and made his spelling list only from the words that he has misspelled. 

His list for the next week will be the following words:

  • bluy (blue)
  • cum (come)
  • funy (funny)
  • littl (little)
  • won (one)
  • sed (said)
  • too (to)
  • tooo (two)
My next job is to take the words and turn them into flashcards.  I will use black for the letters that he has already placed in the word, and we will use a color to highlight the letters that are missed or incorrect.

When I get the cards drawn up I promise I will post some pictures of them for you.  Along with the stories we will make up to help them stick in his brain.  We will take pictures of these words, and spell them forwards and backwards.  ( the whole spelling backwards thing is really amazing to me.... because I can't do it.. AT. ALL.! )

This technique has been such a revelation to me that I really want everyone who has a struggling speller and reader to know about it!!  I really wish you could join the Expo and hear Dianne speak!  Maybe you could get an Expo To Go ticket and listen to her on the MP3's that will be out in June?  I know I am ready to have the MP3 of her last talk... I know I have forgotten some key things she mentioned and it will be real nice to hear it again.  I think the price of 20 bucks is a steal to get some information that could seriously impact your child's learning.

Ok... I need to get out my markers and make these flash cards for Hunter.

I will be back to show them to you when they are done !!

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Homeschool Mother Journal 5.2.11

{In my life this week…}

Pretty busy.  Ridiculously so in fact.  The calendar hasn't shown busy at the beginning of the week, but then things are added, and added, and added, by Saturday....  I usually ready to sleep for a week. 

Last week there were Dr appts... and then one the very next day so we could be "squeezed" in for a procedure. 

...Then a wedding shower for a couple at church and there was much running around and preparing for that. 

This week the calendar is showing pretty empty....  Hoping it stays that way... and I can get some serious gardening done and some plants in the ground!

{In our homeschool this week…}

This coming week the big kids have a placement test for the community college.  They want to attend there through a program called Running Start.  If they pass the test (I am sure they will)  they will take classes next fall.

I think I am ready for this.

For Hunter... we have really been working on teaching to the little camcorder that is in his head.  Doing lots of Spelling work with the Right Brain techniques....  I think I am going to buy Dianne Craft's video course to help me better grasp all of what she talks about on her website.  It is really making a huge difference in our school days.   
We are also reading through some of the classics in literature....  we have finished Dr. Doolittle and we are on now to Anne of Green Gables...  which I am liking much better than the mini series.

{Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…}

Tayler has her last game this week.  Softball this year has been swift and furious, but very fun.  The game is in West Valley and that is past Yakima....  I will be staying home for that one. 

I plan on having quality time in my garden.  The farthest I want to travel this week is to the side pasture.

Oh... and the big kids are off to a Youth Retreat with church for Friday and Saturday.... good times for them.

{My favorite thing this week was…}

My husband.  He came with me to the wedding shower.  (which if you knew my manly-man, is a heroically selfless gesture) 

{What’s working/not working for us…}

Right now the biggest thing that IS working is Right Brained Teaching Techniques from Dianne Craft.  If you have a child that struggles in reading and memorization of math facts... please check out her site and see if it will help you!


{Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…}

How do you go about starting a Co-op?  Anyone got some advice?

{A photo, video, link, or quote to share…}

Don't be a captive to your past.  Jesus has forgiven it.  You should to.

Philippians 3:13  " Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,"

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

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