Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spencer Learning *Review

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Spencer Learning Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is a downloadable software that has easily been added to our routine homeschool day. My 8 year old is a struggling reader, and it is hit and miss when we add in additional programs. Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is a no frills, basic program that works on sounds through words and sentences. No games, no bells and whistles, just simple reading.

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}
This type of program is exactly what we needed for additional practice. We started in the beginning with lesson 1. We started with short vowel sounds. Each of the words that follow all have that vowel sound in the three letter word.

The words are given in a list first so that you can see the words that will be coming.

After the lists, the words are shown, one at a time. After they read it, they can click on the arrow at the top to take them to the next word.  I chose to sit with my son to help him with the program.

There is a speaker you can click on to read the word to you for a child who can self check. You can either click on the entire word top and it will read it, or just hover over the letters in the yellow and it will tell you the sounds.

After the words, there are sentences that include words from previous lessons as well as the current words.

Again you can hover over the word and it will say it for you. I had my son read it first, then hit the sound symbol to see if he was correct.
It was very helpful for him to see the numbers at the bottom of the page, to know how many more sentences he had to do. Though the entire lesson only take 10-15 minutes, a struggling reader will struggle even through that short of a time frame.

After the student learns short vowels, they learn beginning consonant blends like sl, br, fr and including three letter blends like spr.
After the blends the student starts to learn Sight Words. This is where we really need the work. This is set up just like the rest of the program, but using the sight words. There are only a small amount used at a time. The next several lessons do a practice review, and then there is another sight word page. The sight words aren't thrown at the student all at once, rather in small bites which I thought was very helpful.

Consonant blends are then studied as ending sounds as well as more beginning sounds. The program builds upon itself and the student's reading repertoire just keeps increasing.

Scrolling through I see that the program also includes the silent e, double consonants, consonant blends, endings, compound words, apostrophe, syllables and more. This is a great, comprehensive, yet simple to use phonics program.

There are no games, awards, or cartoon characters. That helps the Ultimate Phonics to be used by all ages. Adult readers who need help, those with English as a second language, and beginner readers all can benefit from this easy to use program.
I am so excited for my little guy to progress and eventually get through all 262 lessons! Little by little we are getting there.

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Social Media Links:Facebook:  http://facebook.com/spencerlearning
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/spencerlearning @spencerlearning

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Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Color Code Bible *Review

The new Color Code Bible comes in NKJV, which is perfect for my kids. We use the NKJV for our homeschool so that we are all reading the same words when we do our morning Bible time.
So what is does Color Code mean? Over 1600 are color coded to important themes, making it easier to find scriptures you are trying to memorize, or do a thematic study.

Gold: God
Navy: Sin, evil,
Red: Jesus
Orange: washed clean from sin, new life
Green: growth in your new life as a Christian and Faith Walk
Blue: Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving
Purple: Heaven

It is like having the highlighting already done for you. A great way for kids to have an introduction to highlighting, and keeping track of themes in the Bible.

With over 800,000 words in the Bible, it can be a bit overwhelming for young readers. The Color Code system helps them to find relevant verses much easier, and then be able to read the chapters around that to gather the context.

The Bible also has a 365 day reading plan included in the front, which is great for kids who want to read the entire Bible and aren't sure how to get started. With it being right in the Bible, they aren't going to lose their reading plan either.

The Color Code Bible has even taken the time to list each verse that they have highlighted, under it's correct color, divided by Old and New Testament. This helps that if you want to find a verse about God, you can turn to the list of gold highlighted words and find a verse from the many listed.

This is a great bible for a Tween to get started with noticing themes in the Bible, as well as learning to dig a bit deeper rather than just reading a scripture alone.

Additional blank pages at the end of the Bible help the reader store up some memories to pass along with their Bible

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”               

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Help Teaching *Review

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}
HelpTeaching.com is an online platform for educators. Help Teaching Pro Subscription gives you access to tests, worksheets and lessons. Help Teaching has worksheets for pre K through grade 12. My focus was on the pre K level with my youngest daughter 20 months.
She is so interested in doing school as she watches her older siblings day in and day out working. I knew that many of the Help Teaching lessons would be above her head, but the beauty of that is I can use those lessons for my older children as well. When you sign up for Help Teaching, you get full access to the site for an entire year.

We started on the English Language Arts, and were able to watch a video on each letter of the alphabet. Each week we are doing a letter of the week with her, as well as an animal to go along with it. The video is just a short 2 minute video clip that repeats the letter sound as well as items that start with that letter. It not only is teaching her the sound, but opening up her vocabulary with new words. We used it a few times a week and she was doing great at saying each letter sound.

There are practice questions included, and these would be great to follow up for a 4 year old or one who is writing. The videos worked great for her alone.

In addition to letters, we were able to work on colors.

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}

Such fun characters to go along with the colors! Now this will use some ink on your printer, so I do recommend laminating the flashcards or covering with contact paper to keep them for longer.

When you are on the page Tests/Worksheets you have a good option for narrowing down your search. You can browse via grade, or subject. I was not able to find a search engine to locate specific items. The browsing does help to narrow it down though. On the Lesson page there isn't the break down that there is with the Test/Worksheets.

Under Early Education Printables there are worksheets for
Thinking Skills
Early scissor skills

There are also mini books you can print out for each letter of the alphabet as well as themed booklets.

So much for my preschooler to do! In addition, there are great worksheets for my older kids as well. We utilized the math worksheets quite a bit. It really liked the Math Worksheet Generator. This gave me a way to print off a quick review math sheet for the older kid while I was getting some other things done. You can't have enough practice in multiplication facts, and this was very helpful.

There is also a Word Search, and Bingo game generator. Sometimes this 'busy work' is just what my kids need for a change of pace.
Help Teaching has so much more to offer with their Test Maker and Tests. I am not a big test giver so I didn't try out these features. I think for someone who needs to administer test it would be great!

Social Media Links:Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helpteaching
Twitter: https://twitter.com/helpteaching @helpteaching
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/helpteaching/

Help Teaching Pro Subscription {HelpTeaching.com}

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Christian HomeSchool Hub Download Club *Review

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

CHSH-Teach.com or Christian HomeSchool Hub, is a huge cataloging of homeschool downloadable resources. When we first got our CHSH Download Club

I was excited to look into the preschool type downloads for my youngest. Once I did that, I couldn't stop there, with the nearly 50,000 different downloads!

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

This resource is only $25 a year, and worth every dollar!

One of the first things I loved about CHSH-Teach.com was the home page and the calendar that had daily events and observances. I remember using a calendar like this for my older kids, and having their journal project for the day represent something that happened in history that day.

So let's look at the categories offered by CHSH-Teach.com
Bible Related
Arts, Music, Crafts
Language Arts
Social Studies

These categories can then be searched according to grade level from Pre K through 12th grade.
Another feature is that they can be browsed seasonally as well. As we hit Fall, this is a great feature to look up projects with leaves, pumpkins and apples.

There are also some organizational and classroom helps for the teacher.

From the Download Club home page you can search for categories, topics or key words. This has been incredibly helpful as we are doing school with other lessons and need to add more. We looked up the Sun as a go along and found a great printable to make a 3D sun. I also printed off a coloring page of the planets and a reading comprehension page. All of these just added to our program.

Some of the downloads though are complete works in of themselves. For example, the Sky Observers Guide is 159 pages long and can be downloaded and then read from your PC.

My focus started for preschool and I was quite impressed with what I found. My daughter is not quite 2 yet, but has a love of learning already and wants to do school daily with us. We started her out with her colors, and moved on to shapes.
CHSH-Teach.com has individual pages to print, as well as shape books, color posters, and learning books for colors.
For shapes we printed out Shape flashcards and a shape book. Some of the fine motor skill ones were a little beyond her just yet, but I imagine come spring she will be cutting out shapes as well. We also get to look forward to learning Time, Numbers, Alphabet, Fine Motor Skills, Rhyming and a favorite for sure to use this spring, Dr Seuss Resources.
There is easily enough resources for a good solid PreK curriculum.
There are topic added daily, and you will see those at the top of the page on the Download Club page as well.

I feel like you could put together your own studies with many of these downloadables and just add some reading resources for a nice way to get started homeschooling. It is honestly hard to not download everything! I am a collector of information and I had to keep reminding myself that I don't have to refind this, that it is already all saved for me at CHSH-Teach.com.

Just make sure you have plenty of printer ink! The only downside is many of them are in color, which for the PreK level I think is important to catch their attention.

I would love to see more information on animals for the younger kids. We are going through the animals alphabetically and it would have been really fun to find something to go along with this. Since they are adding new items daily, I will keep checking back to see if by chance they do.

Find The Christian HomeSchool Hub on these social media sites.

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheChristianHomeSchoolHub/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristianHomeSchoolHubPage/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeachWithCHSH
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyndaackert/chsh-teachcom-creations-by-lackert/
Google+ Group: https://plus.google.com/b/117967118184286217472/communities/108322787218266183941
Google Business Page: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/117967118184286217472/117967118184286217472/posts
Linked-In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndaackert
Tumblr: http://christianhomeschoolhub.tumblr.com/

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

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Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

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Exploring Creation with Astronomy ~Apologia *Review

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
Apologia Educational Ministries has long been our Science Curriculum for years. We truly find it amazing and Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition has been just as exciting for us!

We were thrilled to be able to review the latest version of the Exploring Creation with Astronomy as the kids have had a new found love of stars and planets. I used this with my 11 year old using the Notebooking Journal and the Jr. Notebooking for my 8 year old.

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

To be honest, Science is something we end up putting on the back burner to our basic Reading, Writing, and Math. Time seems to dictate that we get those done, and often after that we struggle to dig into science. Not with Apologia Science! The kids have so enjoyed the Exploring Creation series, that they get through their regular school work sooner so that they have time for Science.
We have enjoyed working through the basics of astronomy and the Sun chapters so far.

Science that can be done with  more than one child at a time really helps me as the homeschool mom, and it helps the kids experience the activities and experiments together.

There area 14 lessons in the astronomy book. Which may seem confusing, as this is much longer than a 14 day or 14 weeks. Thankfully there is a lesson plan in the Notebooking Journal that walks us through the daily assignments.

Some lessons have 4 days worth of work, and others have as many as 7. We chose to do one daily set of assignments, twice a week. We choose to have science on Monday and Wednesday as that just works well for us.

Each daily assignment has a combination of reading in the Student Text (which I choose to read to both of them together), notebooking journal pages, and activities.

As we learned about basic astronomy, we had the chance to make a solar system out of balloons. This was a really fun experiment, though we could not get the Sun anywhere near as large as it needed to be proportionally!

We had the chance to make mini notebooks within our Notebooking journal as well, as a good review of all we learned in the first chapter

The Notebooking Journals are not identical. The Jr. Notebooking Journal has easier puzzles and includes coloring pages. The Notebooking Journal has some more worksheets to describe what you have been learning about. Of course my 11 year old enjoys coloring more than the 8 year old so she convinced him to let her color his pages.

We learned some amazing facts about the sun in Lesson 2. I love that Apologia always brings it back to God and His amazing Creation. With scripture verses right in the text, as well as examples that show God's greatness. You can not get a better Biblical Worldview Science curriculum than Apologia.

We had an experiment to funnel the light from the sun to melt butter. That was really fun!

 Big brother had to get in there and try to set a fire with a napkin, thankful that Apologia has us use butter!

Included in the set was an Audio CD which you use in your computer as it is an MP3. This reads aloud the Student Text to the student. This is great if you want the students to be independent with their reading, and they may struggle with it. They can listen and follow along in the student text. It is also good as a reinforcement to listen to what they are reading. Because I read the text to the kids myself, we have not used the Audio CD. If we had the capabilities in the car to play it I think we would use it for long drives just or a review.

In our review time we have just gotten started with Astronomy. We are excited to keep going and learn all about God's creativeness in Space.

Check out Apologia on these social media sites:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/apologiaworld
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/apologiaworld @apologiaworld
Pinterest  https://www.pinterest.com/apologia/
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/apologiaworld/

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Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead *Review

The Falling Asleep Book
Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
Illustrated by Gail Yerrill

When my older kids were younger, we used to read to them each night before bed. It was a great routine to help them settle in for the night. With 7 kids now, we have gotten away from the habit in all of the chaos of life. I wanted to try to get back to it with my 21 month old daughter and utilize her sister to be my helper. I love having a routine for bedtime, rather than just saying "It's Bedtime", and that is all.

I had Shiloh read Time for Bed, Sleepyhead to Jurnee for a few nights. It is a bit of a long book for a toddler, being geared for just a little bit older. She did pay excellent attention t each night and did not get bored at all. The book is big, but not long. It has some great illustrations of the animals that really keeps the younger children's attention.

"You may have seen this renowned brain expert on PBS, a TED Talk, or on the Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Amen's new book is called Time for Bed, Sleepyhead and it is psychologically designed to help trigger sleepiness in children to get them to fall asleep. The book uses guided imagery and gently stimulates the child's brain into falling asleep. Dr. Amen used this tactic on his own daughter and has taught it to many patients' parents as well".

Super cute animals like Eli the Anteater, Liam the Llama, and Emmy the baby Emu are headed to the beach for a day of fun along with the listener of the book. They imagine the hot sun and warm water and play on the beach. Afterward they head back home for a nice bubbly bath to help relax the tired animals and an attempt at eating dinner.
The book has you insert yawns at appropriate time! They will become real yawns believe me.
The animal friends begin to have dreams and Mama bear kisses cub goodnight.
Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your child and help them settle in for the night!

Watch for this book on sale Sept 16th!

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Happy September!!

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