Saturday, July 30, 2016

ABeCeDarian Company *Review

ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews

ABeCeDarian Company  is a research based reading program. They have a new  ABeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook as well as a Teacher Manual - A to go with it.

ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews

ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews

They have 4 different levels to the program. This interactive program works best on tablet, or smart phone but can also be used on a computer. You can choose to use the paper workbooks along with the interactive, as they are in the same sequence and the same lessons. Interactive, on a kindle is great for when you have several children needing to school at the same time, and each have their own device to work from. I have loved having the accessibility on the tablet to get school work completed.

Level A is the Kindergarten through mid 1st grade level and is perfect for new beginners. It starts with sound blends, and segmenting. It also goes through letter recognition, and their sounds. The letter sounds are taught even before the letter name which I found unique. As toddlers they seem to learn the letter names, yet it has not meaning to them. I thought the idea of doing the sounds first was a great idea! I have a toddler now and I think as we learn letters, we will do the sounds first.

ABeCeDarian has kids reading from the first lesson. Rather than going through the alphabet, and learning each isolated letter and it's sound, the student is learning short words with a consonant, vowel, consonant pattern and is able to read the words right away. What a sense of accomplishment for a child to feel like they are reading right off the bat!

There are 6 high frequency words introduced in Level A; The, A, I, Is, Of, To.

By the time the student completes level A, they will have learned over 100 words.

ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews
There are fun activities in the workbook to help the student learn the sounds and words. They will play word puzzles with the teacher, work on writing out the letters, write out words as they say them, and even work up to reading sentences. It isn't long before the student is reading sentences, where other 'reading' programs takes months before they feel that they can even read a word.
The words the student is learning are also the words they use in a spelling test. The teacher recites it to the student and they write it out. There is much reinforcement and repetition with the words through sound, sight, and writing.

The difference with the interactive workbook is that there is less writing, and more taking and dragging the letters to the right place.

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ABeCeDarian Interactive Reviews

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

All Things Bright and Beautiful *Review & Giveaway

This gorgeous book takes the poem All Things Bright and Beautiful and brings it to a new generation of readers. First written by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848, this classic hymn has lasted the test of time. Still sung in many churches today, this hymn expresses love at all things beautiful that the Lord God made.

The illustrations by Katy Hudson, add to the beauty in expressing the things God made. I sat down with my 18 month old to read this book and she picked up on things that I might not. As we watch 3 precious children explore the world around them, the illustrations match the words to the hymn perfectly. "All creatures great and small" depicts creatures as large as a deer, and as small as a lady bug, all of interest to my little one. The wise big owl with his big brown eyes, the little pig-tailed girl blowing on a dandelion, and the birds showing their "glowing colors".

The children are exploring the beauty of nature around them.
My little one loved seeing the kids play in the river, taking their shoes off and stretching their arms into the air. She even copied them! So precious.
This book was wonderful for her age, with just a few special words, and a world of illustration to look at.

We sat for a long time looking at all of the fun drawings on the pages, going back and forth in the book. I was amazed at how well it grabbed her attention.

Katy Hudson has done a beautiful job at taking this classic hymn, and making it exciting for my toddler and myself.

Enter to win a copy by using the giveaway tool below
Ends August 3rd

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Writing with Sharon Watson ~A TOS @homeschoolcrew Review

Writing with Sharon Watson Review
Writing with Sharon Watson has become a staple in our homeschool curriculum. It has really helped my children with writing. I was excited to review The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School, 2nd Edition with my 17 year old.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Writing is a constant struggle, especially with my boys. They need much structure in their writing and learning. They aren't to the place yet where you can give them a topic or thesis and have them run with it. Sharon Watson does a fantastic job of breaking the tasks down, and making them understandable for the student.

There are 7 Parts to the study;
Before you Write
and then a Reference section as well.

Under each part are from 1 to 20 chapters to work through. There are 117 daily lessons and plenty of writing prompts. I can easily call this a full year of work for writing. Combined with grammar and some reading, it easily would be a year credit in English.
The instruction is dual level meaning it works for beginner to accomplished writers. I love that aspect! Mine kids are beginner now, but if I have an accomplished writer later, all we need to do is purchase an additional Student Text.

The Teacher Guide has been most helpful to me. It explains and outlines everything for me, so that I am not doing any additional research or work. With 7 children, having the curriculum ready to use is a must!
In addition to instructions, the Teacher Guide also gives a in depth rubric for grading. If you are like me, you have no clue how to grade a child's writing work. I have long struggled with that, and the help Sharon Watson gives will go with me through other writing assignments my children do.

Writing with Sharon Watson Review

Writing Prompts are called 14 minute Power Surges. Sharon gives us 4 prompts a week, one for Mon-Thurs. These are meant to take 14 minutes of writing, without being graded. We have always done a daily journal with writing prompts so this isn't something new for my kids. I love her ideas though and plan to use them daily with the 17 year old and my 14 year old as well. On Friday they choose their best paper, correct it, rewrite it and turn it in Monday. I need my kids to get a 'homework' feel, especially as they near college. To have something 'due' and to have to set aside time to work on it.

I chose to do four lessons a week, giving Friday for catching up or if we had errands to run. That also gives time Friday for tweeking the Power Surge, and working on papers.

Over the course, there are 21 papers that will be written. You might not want to tell your reluctant writer that in the beginning! This is going to help prepare them for college, and believe me, with 2 kids already in college, they Will Need to know how to write! This is an excellent, informative, and fun way to help them on the right track!

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Writing with Sharon Watson Review

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dive into Summer from National Geographic *Review & Giveaway

Dive into Summer with National Geographic for Kids

Summer is an excellent time to visit a local beach or aquarium and learn more about the ocean. Landlocked Kentucky leaves us with the option of traveling at least a day, or visiting the aquarium in Ohio. We have another option though to dive into the ocean this summer and that is through great books! If you cant actually visit, your best book choices are from National Geographic!

We have enjoyed two books recently that have been engaging for my 8 and 11 year old. Of course my toddler picked right up on the plush Dory!

Ocean Animals: Who's Who in the Deep Blue ($12.99, ages 8-12) is an oversized book and it needs to be!  Featuring huge, stunning underwater photographs this book covers it all -- from life in coral reefs to sharks and rays, to bizarre creatures of the deep and even sea birds -- and all the favorites from Finding Dory including, sea lions, octopus, beluga whales, whale sharks and of course clown fish and Dory herself -- blue tangs!  

Ocean Animals Sticker Activity Book (ages 4-8, $6.99) has over 1,000 cool stickers of the most popular, adorable, ferocious and weird ocean animals, like dolphins, coral, fish, sea turtles, seals and more. Also included are skill-building puzzles and mazes, spelling and pattern games, drawing, photos, facts, and other activities that will keep kids you entertained (and learning) for hours on end. Perfect for road trips and plane rides!

Enter to win!!
"Dive Into Summer" Giveaway Pack
Ocean Animals: Who's Who in the Deep Blue,
Ocean Animals Sticker Activity Book
and a Dory plushie
 US only please  

* Friend National Geographic Kids on Facebook -
* Follow National Geographic Kids Books on twitter - @NGKidsBks

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Whiffer Sniffers Scented Stuffies ~Review

Whiffer Sniffers are highly scented plush characters.
I have such fun memories of the scratch and sniff stickers as a kid. I actually still have them in a sticker book from over 30 years ago, and they still smell!! I love that Whiffer Sniffers is taking the smell to the next level with these adorable plush characters.

Whiffer Sniffers come in a variety of sizes.
Great back to school backpack clip.

 My littles one loves these and we clipped them on her diaper bag.
I think these would be perfect as a key chain as well. Nothing like taking a car scent right on your keys!

The Mystery pack contains a backpack clip as well, but it is a surprise as to what one you get!
There are a couple of rare Sniffers that you can get in the mystery pack. We got Billy Bluesberry, and Adam Apple in our mystery pack. Each pack shows the different ones in the series.

Really love the scented plush? Then the Super Sniffer is for you! We have Billy Bluesberry and he smells divine! My baby actually has him in her bed and I can smell him when I lay her down. He started off very strong, just a warning. But as time goes by you aren't overwhelmed by it.

Added nostalgia for me was being able to have scratch and sniff stickers again!

I personally plan on collecting more of these great scents and putting them in the kids stockings this Christmas. What a fun memory to pass down to them.
Some other great characters are
Freddy Frosted (doughnut)
IB Poppin (popcorn)
Tony Pepperoni (Pizza)
Dilly Yo (pickle)
and a favorite we must get!!
Ben Sizzlin! Bacon

Find Whiffer Sniffers on these social media sites

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ArtAchieve Draw the World ~Review

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review
ArtAchieve has three levels of drawing projects that relate to specific countries. We reviewed the
Entire Level II which includes 14 art lessons from around the world. Each lesson takes you to a different country. You get the license for the entire level for a year. You can also purchase the lessons individually if you are learning about a specific country.

You do not need to do the art lessons in a specific order which is really nice. You can base your decision on what your student likes to draw, the country that it is from, or even the topic that is being drawn. ArtAchieve is a great go along for a Geography Country study. There is such a range of places that you really will be a globe trotter.

Each art lesson gives you a description of the background of the piece of art. For example, the Korean Duck is a traditional wedding gift.
Each art lesson provides the materials you will need for that project as well. What I loved was that most of them used the same tools so that made it easier to keep going through the lessons. We used a water color paper that we were able to find at the craft store.

Our family has always loved unit studies, and I really appreciate the extra effort that went into these art projects, to incorporate much more than just art. The lesson has 'rabbit trails' you can take and learn more about the art work. There are links for looking up the geography of the area, both in video format and reading. Take the Korean Duck for example again, we were able to see parts of Korea, read about Korean Ducks, and even watch a traditional Korean wedding.

The lesson also includes a writing prompt if you want to include that in your lesson. Basically just writing about what you have learned through the video and reading material.

Finally there is a literature section that recommends some reading that would either talk about the country or the artwork.

All of that is just on the introduction to the artwork page.

Once you click on your specific art project, you will have the opportunity to print off a couple of things you will need for that lesson. Their is a warm up exercise that gets you drawing and copying. There is also a small scale version of the art work to look at and learn from.

This specific lesson took 65 minutes in time. You can easily break it up into several days. Watching the video and drawing. Then the next do go ahead and do the painting. We typically take a Friday for art, so we like to get our work completed in that day. If you have art class a couple times a week you can easily stretch the project and the additional learning lessons for a week.

For the lesson itself you can either have a power point presentation, or you can watch it in video form. We chose to watch it in video. We had  no trouble streaming the video and our internet isn't that fast.

The video incorporates the background and history information of the art piece as well as showing a traditional one. It also goes step by step on how to draw the item.

We absolutely loved ArtAchieve. It is our desire to finish all of the lessons this year, and to incorporate the extra exercises as well. It has been great to have it right there at our finger tips, and not have to search for geography videos and literature suggestions.

Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

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Art Lessons for Children ArtAchieve Review

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Scripture Scribes ~One Another *Review

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}
Laurelwood Books  offers homeschool curriculum in many categories including handwriting. We reviewed Scripture Scribe Series One Another that allowed my daughter to work on her cursive and at the same time, read scripture.

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

Scripture Scribes One Another has scripture writing with the words "One another", found in the New Testament of the Bible. There are 50 lessons in the book, covering 2 pages each. Each lesson has the student trace the scripture, and then write it out. The lines are dashed, but much smaller than your traditional cursive writing lines from elementary school. Scripture Scribes One Another is suggested for grades 4-6, but you can use it with whatever grade is at this level. I think these would be great for even the middle school age students. Even to incorporate memorization.

The verse is copied 4 different times on each lesson. Each time it is traced, and then rewritten. Each time it is also a different version of the Bible. Bible translations used are KJV, NKJV, ICB, and ESV.
Each lesson also follows that order. If it was too much for one lesson, you could easily do the first page one day, and the second page the next day, making each lesson span 2 days.

Some scripture examples are;
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love..." Romans 12:9-10 NKJV

I love that these verses are all ones that could easily be used as memory verses as well. They would be very easy to memorize. They are being read, copied over, rewritten at least four times. Have your student choose their favorite version, or even the one your family uses the most often. We use NKJV mostly in our school and church so I prefer the kids memorize in that version just to keep it stream lined for them.

So much more than simple cursive. I am hugely in favor of learning cursive. I believe that kids need to learn it so that they can read historical documents, even letters from their grandparents. Creatively it is great or their brains to learn cursive as well. It is a great tool for their hands and eyes to work together creatively with their brain. And in my opinion, cursive writing just looks nicer.

There are a few informational pages within One Another that I really enjoyed. They had a list of the Scriptures, approximately when it was written and by whom, and the language that it was in. I found this list to be super.

Laurelwood Books has additional cursive writing books. They have a series on Patriotic Penmanship, which is geared toward specific grades. It starts with 3rd grade and has individual copies up to 6th grade. Then there is a combination 7th and 8th, and even a high school edition. These books include historic quotes as well as Bible verses.

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Be sure to see what the other Crew members thought of this Scripture Scribes, as well as some of the Patriotic Penmanship and even some Latin curriculum. Laurelwood Books is a great place to check out while you are planning your upcoming school year.

Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Ringmaster's Wife

I have long been a fan of Kristy Cambron, and to see that she was writing a book that included the Ringling name an even visited the Ringling museum to gather information. My sister went to school at the Ringling School for the art and I had been to that museum. It really helped pull things together for me and I was so thrilled to read this book!
Who doesn't love the thrill, sounds and life of the circus?  Much lost now on the current generations, I loved how Kristy brought the excitement back around. I recall going as a youngster myself, but only a few of my kids have even seen a real circus. Kristy is excellent at writing dual story lines that intersect. I look forward to many more books from her!

An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.
In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.
A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.
When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.
A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!


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