Saturday, April 30, 2011

Read aloud Challenge April 28

Reading pictureA couple weeks ago the retina in Mark’s left eye detached and we were forced to head back to Dr. M’s office for a repeat of last July, only it was a different eye this time. Another difference was the medication he was put on following the surgery. He became very ill and hasn’t recovered even now two and a half weeks later. He is doing better though.
So the week of the surgery the kids stayed with their cousins and we did no read alouds. The next week we did the bare minimum (so little I don’t remember what it was).  This week we’re back at it and this is what we read:
  • Tuck Everlasting (it was an audio book and we LOVED it, finished it in two settings. Our library will offer override starting Monday so we’ll be doing more of these (hopefully).
  • Did You Know? (Bible Devo)
  • Book of Matthew
  • Apologia Who is God? 
  • Young Readers Bible
  • A Family of Grizzly Bears
  • About a half dozen picture books
  • Jordan devoured read two RPM books. I promised to buy these for him if he would learn his states and capitals. He was able to write out all the states so I gave him the first book. He couldn’t wait to start the second book so I folded and gave it to him even though he didn't know the capitals from memory. Besides, he knows them already by matching and with a little more effort he’ll have them from memory too. I’m just happy he wants to read Smile
Farmer Boy has been put to the side but I hope to pick it back up this week. 
Check out what everyone else is reading this week by visiting Footprints in the Butter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

TOS Review: See the Light

My family was privileged this year to not only review a music curriculum but also a wonderful art curriculum. Today I will tell my experience with See The Light Art Class.
                                         See the LightPhotobucket is an art curriculum perfectly designed for homeschoolers as it’s available on DVD or as online classes. The cost for the DVD curriculum is $99 and it includes 9 DVD’s for a total of 36 lessons. The online subscription costs $10 per month and you receive four lessons each month. In addition to the current month’s lessons you will also have access to the previous months lessons. Visit See the Light for more information concerning their online subscription option. The targeted age for this program is 6-10 yrs old but it works fine for older kids and much older adults ;-) especially if there is no previous drawing experience.
See the Light also offers a few art supplies and some additional ‘special occasion’ DVD lessons, such as The Crossmaker which is an art lesson designed for Easter. See the Light is a Christian based art program and the artists frequently use Bible lessons to convey ideas and principals in the art class. I really like this aspect of the program. I always want to be drawing them to the Savior.
We reviewed Volume 1 (lessons 1-4) of the art curriculum. In this volume we learned the basics of art. We learned what we need to have in our art toolbox, how to contour draw, train our eyes and hands to work together, and for the final lesson we put it into practice by drawing a tennis shoe. Josiah enjoyed this program the most and he ended up drawing whatever he could get his hands on. Below is a picture of him drawing a cell phone.

We truly enjoyed this program, Pat Knepley taught each of our lessons and she is very engaging and easy to follow. There are other artists that teach in some of the other DVD’s. You can get a free sample DVD by clicking here.  There are also some video clips on the See the Light website. Hope your family enjoys this program as much as mine has.


Josiah really getting a good look at the contour of his apple


      These kids were amazed at how well they could draw an apple when taught how to do it correctly 

To see what other homeschoolers think of See the Light, 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.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Review: The Secret of Indigo Moon


GP Taylor

Well we received this book on Monday and by Tuesday my son had completed it, so I’d say it’s a pretty engrossing book. My son is 10 (almost 11) and according to him it didn’t have a strong Christian theme, but at the same time, it’s not a bad book.

The book involves two separate mysteries that take place at an all girl school and involves a young boy who’s been abandoned by his dad. The storyline really comes together at the conclusion of the book, up until then it’s hard to know what’s going to happen. That’s the purpose of a mystery, right?

This is the second book in the Dopple Ganger Chronicles and although my son didn’t read the first one he had no problem picking up and reading the second one. The Dopple Ganger Chronicles are written by G.P. Taylor. Book 2 of the Dopple Ganger Chronicles is called The Secret of Indigo Moon and it’s a 291 page hardback book with amazing graphics. The cost of the book is $19.99. The pages are mostly black with white lettering which in my opinion was a nice twist.

This book would be great for guys and gals who aren’t really big on reading and prefer a lot of pictures. It’s not a comic book but it does have a lot of comic type pages so it’s extremely easy for them to follow along and get a good visual picture of what’s happening.

If you would like to get your copy of this book, visit Tyndale House Publishers.

**Disclaimer: In exchange for my honest review Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Read Aloud Challenge Week 2

Reading pictures

I’m a day late putting this up this week but better late than never, right? So this week we’ve done well with our reading, except Monday. The older boys were running fevers Monday and Tuesday this week and I let them do absolutely nothing on Monday. Poor fellas felt so bad. They were a little better Tuesday so we read but no formal school.

So here’s our reading for last week:

  • We finished Andi’s Scary School Days (cute book)
  • Children’s Bible story book
  • AWANA reading
  • Farmer Boy (didn’t get as far in this as I’d have liked)
  • Helen Keller (finished, what an inspiration she was to us)
  • Did You Know? Devotion book for kids
  • Reading through Matthew in the New Testament
  • Apologia Science (Jordan)
  • Coral Island (Josiah’s audio book)
  • Tentacles : Tales of the Giant Squids
  • An ample plenty picture books for the little kiddies

We actually skipped Who is God? this week. Not intentionally…it just happened!

Head on over to Footprints in the Butter to see what everyone else is reading.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

TOS Review: KinderBach


What’s new with my reviews? It’s a musical one this time- KinderBach!!! I found this quote on their site:

“Research clearly shows Piano is the best instrument with the most benefits to brain development.
KinderBach is a unique method of teaching very young children to actually

Now that got me excited!  But first things first, let’s get the facts out there then we’ll talk about how my family used it.


  • KinderBach is an online music program designed to teach very young children to play the piano. Also available as a DVD set.
  • The cost: Online membership is $19.99 per month or an annual fee of $95.88. You will have access to over 240 lessons during your membership. You also have the option of purchasing the program in DVD form. The single level DVD’s are $40.45 each (there are currently 6 levels, soon to be 7). You could also choose to purchase the entire package on DVD for $202.88. In addition to these choices there are many other options found here.
  • KinderBach is designed for ages 3-7
  • KinderBach offers a free trial located here.
  • KinderBach is more than just video lessons. There are printouts, games, and activities with each level giving your child a multi-sensory learning experience.
  • Level 7 is in the making…stay tuned to KinderBach for more information on that.
  • KinderBach also offers downloadable Coloring Books ($2.95 each) and  Song Books ($23.95, includes audio CD)
  • Developed by Karri Gregor
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee


Using the Program

It’s pretty simple to use KinderBach. You log into your account and click on the level you’re currently using. Each level has 10 weeks and each week has 4 lessons. Locate your week and lesson, and at this point you will be able to quickly see what you will need to do this lesson, including any printouts necessary. The lessons are fairly short, approximately 15 minutes, so the kids have no trouble staying focused.


Our Family’s Experience

Let me start by saying, you don’t have to know music yourself in order for your child to benefit from this program. In fact, I think they assume that you don’t and KinderBach teaches the child EVERYTHING.


I used KinderBach with my 8 yr old son, 5 yr old son, and 3 yr old daughter. My older son participated but I  actually signed him on to be more of a facilitator than a student. The early lessons are a little young for his interest but he’s very good about going with the flow and he never complained.

The program started off teaching them to recognize high and low sounds, introducing them to fun characters that will aid in their learning experience, and how to identify some of the notes.

I need to stop right here and point out something I found VERY interesting. When we first began KinderBach I thought it was just a music/piano course but it is so much more than that. The writer of this program has integrated other preschool activities into learning music. For example, they will be taught left and right, some letter sounds, coloring (lots of coloring Smile), counting, cutting, matching, listening skills…the list goes on and on. I was very impressed with the extent of learning activities offered in Kinderbach

Do we have a new Beethoven in the house? Well, um, no. But we still have a few more weeks before our subscription ends so maybe soon? My kids did very well with this and actually done multiple lessons each time we used it. The lessons were very engaging and fun, yet straight to the point  with the concepts being taught. Looking forward to them actually playing a song (it won’t be long!!)

If you would like to read more reviews, 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.


Monday, April 4, 2011

TOS Review: GoGo Kabongo


The TOS Crew is reviewing a new online reading readiness game known as GoGo Kabongo. This program is an assortment of activities designed to help a child as he begins his learning to read journey.   There are three main habitats to explore and within each habitat there are three games with six levels in each game. It’s like layers upon layers of things to see and games to play. This is great, however, I would not recommend this for anyone without high-speed internet because every level requires the game to pause for ‘loading.

The cost for GoGo Kabongo is very reasonable! The habitats are usually $4.95 each but for a limited time you can have full access to Laughter Lake at no charge and if you sign up before the deal ends you will receive another free habitat. That’s a total of 3 habitats for only $4.95. GREAT DEAL! Also click here for a free demo before you sign up. The program is designed for ages 4-7, and I think that is just the right age to benefit from it.

GoGo Kabongo: What’s it all about?


Kabongo uses a cognitive approach to reading, helping the child learn to think and reason by using interesting and challenging games in the process (note: this is not a program to teach your child to read, it only aides in the early steps prior to learning, this is my opinion). Why is it important to enhance cognitive abilities for reading purposes? This is what Kabongo states on their website:

Reading is a cognitive activity, which demands more than knowing your letter sounds. Children have to learn how to integrate their knowledge of letters with other clues contained inside and outside of the text to become effective readers. By focusing on the cognitive processes that underlie reading, and providing plenty of opportunities for practice, GO GO KABONGO! helps kids develop good thinking habits, which in turn makes them better readers.

Here is a chart that outlines the different skills the child should learn and which activity/game it corresponds with. If you would like more information about these skills visit their website for a detailed description of each skill and it’s importance in the learning to read process.






Each habitat offers the same quality brain strengthening games, just with it’s own specialized theme to keep it interesting to the kids.





Each haPhotobucketbitat you visit has it’s own unique ‘tour guide’, from MiMi the selPhotobucketf absorbed rabbit/kangaroo at Twister Top, to my personal favorite Karl the monotone, funny but not meaning to be spider/octopus dude from Galaxy Gardens (these are our personal descriptions you can visit here for a more accurate description.) The characters are a bit strange looking and there seems to be more skulls than I would prefer, especially in the avatar choices, but I don’t think my kids really noticed. My kids actually enjoyed the characters and so did I for the most part.

Progress Reports

Each week you will receive an update on what your child has been doing and how well they did. It lets you know which skills were addressed and at what level their progression reached. It also gives you neat ideas to use at home (off the computer) to help develop these skills and have one on one time (which is just as important as any skill the could learn on the computer) with you, their parent Smile As an added bonus, at the end of each progress report there’s always a recommendation for a great website, full of helpful ideas, to check out.

As a last note I would like to point out that the games start very easy and increase in difficulty with each successful completion. The games are also very short to begin with, so the younger child shouldn’t loose interest. With each successful finish the child will earn a reward. When receiving rewards, they have three options to choose from. They can acquire something for their Tree House, Comic Book, or Skateboard Park.

If you would like to see what other homeschoolers are saying about GoGo Kabongo, visit the TOS Crew site.

**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, April 1, 2011

Amazing Giveaway


There is an awesome giveaway going on at The Blessings Pour Out. She is celebrating her one year blogoversary and will be giving away TWO prizes. And I must say these are two wonderful prizes.

The first is Rebecca St. James’ new album I will Praise You and the other is Diana Waring’s book Beyond Survival.

She would really like to have 100 Google Friends so head on over, follow her blog and enter for your chance to win! 

OH and one more thing! Please Please tell her Marie from Our Best Daze sent you. (I get extra entries for that :-0)

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