Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reading Aloud Challenge

Reading pictures
Debra at Footprints in the Butter recently started a personal challenge to increase her families read aloud time. Several other homeschoolers felt the same need in their lives, myself included. As a result of that we’re joining up to report weekly on how we’re doing. My desire is to spend a little time daily reading and to not start a book and then take FOREVER to finish it. I don’t care if we only spend 15 min some days and 1.5 hrs others, I want to be continuously reading and not allow myself to drag any of the books out so long that they loose interest.
So this is what we’re doing right now:
*Andi’s Scary School Days (almost done with this)
*Reading through the children’s Bible story book
*AWANA reading
*Farmer Boy (just started that one this week, got a couple chapters done)
*Helen Keller (should finish this one next week if we don’t lag!)
*Did You Know? Devotions for kids
*Apologia Who is God?
*Coral Island (Josiah’s audio book, Chapter 7)
*Jordan is also reading an Apologia Science book and some Red Rock Mysteries
By next week Helen Keller and Andi’s Scary School Day’s should be off of this list Smile
You can find out what other homeschoolers are reading, here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Great Start to the Spring Season

I love it when the days get longer and warmer and the kids enjoy being outside more than being anywhere else. My kids are natural born lovers of the outdoors and I’m so thankful for that. Don’t get me wrong, they enjoy sitting in front of a screen too, but not as much in the warm weather as in the cold.

Lucas Impressed Me with His Sidewalk Train
The best thing about this is, we are going to start learning the letter/sound /t/ next!  How perfect is that?!

No Shirt in March!!
Making Plans

One of their Greatest Joys, is Racing
They typically race bikes, but in order to include their younger brother and sister they will sometimes have push races, such as this one.

And then there’s Shiloh…in a World all her Own
Looking Forward to More of this in the Months to come

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It’s March…let’s fly a kite

We’ve been learning the letter K and with every letter we always end with a craft so of course, it being March and all, we decided to make kites. They actually turned out pretty good, all things considering (i.e. I didn’t know what I was doing).

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We painted them a few days ago and then quickly put them together today, using the instructions from here. Easy peasy Smile


It wasn’t a typical windy March day but we put some get up and go in our step and they flew…um...a little.


Our kites flew a little low

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But that’s okay. We HaD FuN!!!!



100_2468 A good day.

A good day indeed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TOS Review: Apologia’s Who is God?


Apologia sent me Volume I of their new Biblical Worldview of God and Truth, What We Believe series. There are going to be four books in this series but the last two have not been completed. Here are the links to all four books: Who Is God?, Who Am I?, Who Is My Brother? (available 2011) and What On Earth Can I Do? (available 2012).

The book I received, Who Is God?, was a beautiful, large, hardback bPhotobucketook with 254 full color pages. It is recommended to be used with ages 6-14 and the cost is $39. There are some other resources that you could purchase to go with this such as the audio MP3 Cd ($15), coloring book ($8) and a notebooking journal ($24), however none of these products are necessary. We only had the book and some free pages we printed out from the link given to you when you purchase the book.  I also wrote out the memory verse for each lesson and the definitions that we were to learn for that particular lesson and we reviewed those each day.

The book is separated into 10 lessons and according to the schedule located in the front of the book you should be able complete a lesson in 2 weeks. We did not use this schedule. It just didn’t work for us. Instead we easily adapted the lessons to fit our time allowance. If we were short on time, we read one section and did the activity that followed. If we were able, we read more.

The lessons are separated into many different components such as The Big Idea (overview of the lesson) Hide It In Your Heart (memory verse), Integrated Learning (uses different topics such as art, science, math, or history to relate to the main topic being taught), What Should I Do (focuses on a godly characteristic and how to apply the lesson to your life), Worldview Study (helps students see the world around them from a Biblical worldview, as  well as exploring other worldviews), Short Story (stories that use characters with differing world views and examples of how to deal with these differences and explain what you believe) and more.

The activities vary from simple notebooking, narration, to more hands on activities, like baking brownies!

Baking brownies was one of our favorite activities and we’ve already looked ahead to see when we will bake again (soon!). What does baking have to do with Biblical Worldview you say? Well a lot when you know the entire story.

One of the fictional stories in the book depicted a young boy explaining to his friend that, just as the plate of brownies they found on the table couldn’t have baked themselves, neither could the earth have created itself, without the hand of a Creator. 

We were instructed to gather the ingredients for Phenomenal Brownies and wait… So we did:



We watched…and we waited…But those brownies never did make themselves (and neither did the earth create itself, by the way Winking smile)


I’m kind of glad they didn’t because we would have missed out on the fun of making them…

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and eating them…100_2343






I would highly recommend requesting a catalog from Apologia. There catalog is like a mini magazine filled with articles from the different contributors at Apologia.

If you want to know what other TOS members thought of this book, click here.

**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami hits Japan, Hawaii, and headed for West Coast of N. America


Tsunami hits Japan

Pray for those hit by this Tsunami and those who are preparing for it’s coming now on the West Coast.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunny and Cold

Well a little sunshine is all it takes to get my kids outside. Am I the only mom who has to insist on coats? Why don’t these kids get cold when they play outside with no coat on in 50 degree weather?
We are so looking forward to spring! About February every year I always think, ‘give me snow or give me spring!’ And then comes March, and ‘it’s forget the snow, come on spring!!’ I feel teased when we get 65 degrees one day and 50 degrees the next.

Monday, March 7, 2011

TOS Review: Reading Kingdom

Today I’m going to tell you about my experience with Reading Kingdom. This program was created by literacy specialist Dr. Marion Blank, to help children ages 4-10 learn to read and write at a third grade level by using six essential skills: sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.


Here’s How it Works

Your child will begin the program with a Skills Survey.  This part of the program will determine where your child will start the program. There are six levels and each teaches a variety of different skills.

Pre-Reading Teaches sequences and mouse/keyboard skills
Level 1 Teaches sight words such as: some, can, fly, kid, boy (and many more).
Level 2  More nouns and verbs (run, fix) question words (who, what, which) and more. Also they will have reading books to read.
Level 3 Teaches past tense along with more nouns, verbs, helping words, etc. More reading books to go with these.
Level 4 Child is now basically reading to learn instead of just learning to read. The books in this level include science subjects that would be of interest to the child.
Level 5 More complex words and stories to build up their confidence and their overall knowledge.

How Our Family Used Reading Kingdom

I had two of my boys work in the program.  My oldest was able to skip the pre-reading level and start the real reading lessons. My youngest however started in the Pre-reading level and spent many, many days working on his keyboarding and mouse skills.  He is now able to quickly find most of the letters (capital and lowercase) on the keyboard. This is a big accomplishment for him but I must say that it got very old after awhile. My son grew very tired of the same thing day after day. It got better once he left this section. Encourage your child to hang in there because if he/she has never used a computer, which was the case with my child, it will take time. NOTE: This is NOT a typing program.  They do not learn to type, but instead they learn to find (hunt and peck) the letters.
Once your child gets the hang of that you move on to Level 1 where he/she will again take a skills survey and begin Level 1 at a spot that is perfect for him/her. There will be a skills survey at the end of each level that will help place them in the next level.
Below you will see a screen shot of the page that lets you know where your child is in the program at any given time.
Reading Kingdom
You can also click on the different Levels to get a progress update.
Reading Kingdom 


What’s Involved?

So what kind of activities does Reading Kingdom use to teach all of these skills?  Well basically they use different games some interesting and some not as much.
For the Introduction to Reading and Writing my son had to find the letter(s) on the screen and type them on the keyboard and then it would switch and he would have to use the mouse to click them on the onscreen keyboard (see below)
Another part of Intro to Reading and Writing had the child study the letters and then the top row of letters would disappear and the child would have to click those same letters in the box.
This became a long and drawn out process for him as well. It was always the same thing and he grew tired of it after a while. The program was very sensitive and if he didn’t start typing/clicking at precisely the right time it would assume he didn’t know and would try to help him. If you stick with it though, you’ll eventually make it to level one. The Reading Kingdom website says this will take 2-3 weeks. It took that long for us!
My older son was in level one and he mainly learned sight words. He learned words like, girl(s), some, boy(s), plane(s). Below you’ll see a shot of two of the pages used to teach the words Plane and Girls:

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After learning a few of the words he practiced fill in the blank sentences in which he had to type the words he’d learned. Sometimes he was given a word bank as in the picture below. Other times he was required to type them from memory. So far, this  has worked really well in teaching him several new words. Sight words and memorizing just for the sake of memorizing is difficult for him. Reading Kingdom has made it fun and effortless, and for that I am so grateful!!
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Some fast facts:
  • Reading Kingdom costs $19.99 per month for one child and $9.99 for each additional child. (Scholarships are available) You can also choose to purchase 12 months at $199  They do offer a FREE 30 Day Trial. I would HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of this trial to see if Reading Kingdom is right for your child.
  • Ages 4 and up
  • Goal is to teach child to read to a 3rd grade level using a mix of phonics and 5 other skills that Reading Kingdom feels is essential for reading success. I didn’t see a lot of phonics in this program so I really can’t say I’d recommend it as a complete reading program.  However, I would highly recommend it for any child struggling with reading and/or as a supplement for a good reading program. If you’re wondering if this will work for your child, check out this page.
To learn more about this program and what others have learned from their Reading Kingdom experience, click here.
**Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received this product free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion/review. For more honest reviews from real homeschoolers, visit the TOS Crew website.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

School on Saturday

No we aren’t doing make up days for snow! We’re just insane Smile with tongue out

I fee like I never have enough time to do school with the little ones so when the older boys left with their dad this afternoon I asked if they would like to do some school and to my surprise, they said YES! We’ll I wasn’t really surprised, they are still young enough to enjoy school. And really, what child doesn’t enjoy intentional time with their mom or dad.

We started with their AWANA’s lesson. Why do I always manage to save that for the weekend?? We also practiced counting a bit. They seem to have a prejudice against the number 15. They both skip it every time! Now, when ever I see them, I’m going to ask “What comes after 14?” or “What number is before 16?” Hopefully that’ll get ‘em straight in a hurry, if not there’s no hope for ‘em!

They are learning the letter K so we did a little practice listening to the sound it makes and coloring pictures with the /k/. Then we put the books away and started to play.

100_2412I put a piece of paper in the bottom of the muffin tin’s.  Each piece had one of the letters they’ve learned so far.  They tossed a coin and got the paper from the tin their coin landed in. 100_2413100_2412They identified the name of the letter and the sound it made, then they stuck it in the “letter pocket.”  It was fun, easy, and effective. My kinda game and their kinda learning Smile

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