This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 10th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

Come along for the good, the bad & the ugly.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! Today I have a book review to share with you. If you are looking for some middle-grade biblical fiction, I suggest you check out the book, The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio, Author. We enjoy reading historical and biblical fiction so I was thrilled to get the chance to review Jarm’s new book!

The author of this book is Jarm Del Boccio (Jarm is pronounced Yarm), and she is a former teacher and librarian. She currently is a teacher at and has penned her first book The Heart Changer. With a passion for making the Bible and history come alive she expands on the story of the Hebrew slave girl that is found in the book of 2 Kings, Chapter 51 in the Bible.

The story in the Bible is unnamed, but Jarm has given her the name of Miriam. The Heart Changer tells the story of a twelve year of girl named Miriam, who is taken captive from her own country and taken to Siria and ensalved to a Sirian Captain as his wife. Guess who the Sirian Captian is? Namaan from the Bible!

So now, Miriam, with hatred in her heart struggles to serve her captive who took her away from her family. Not only does Miriam have to deal with being captive, she also has to live among people who do not worship her God.

Wow! How would you survive in a situation like this? Would you allow God to change your heart just as he did for Miriam? These are some of the situations that Miriam has lived through.

I received a hard copy of her new book but it is also available in eBook versions as well. I read this book aloud to my two younger daughters, aged 9 and 12 the first week the book arrived. They enjoyed the book and there favorite part was most definitely when we all realized that Miriam’s family was safe and unharmed.

There is also a Teacher’s Guide to accompany the book. You can find it on the webstie. It is twelve pages long and includes a section to get to know Miriam deeper, information about leprosy, and also Sirian recipes to try out.

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}
Overall, I found that this is an excellent book for girls in the middle school age. Good, quality literature is hard to find these days. But this book falls into the good book category. I think you could hand this book to a middle school aged girl without any hesitation. But don’t just take my word for it. Check out what 44 of my CrewMates think of this book by clicking the banner below to read their thoughts.

The Heart Changer {Jarm Del Boccio, Author Reviews}

Company ~ teacher - 
 Product ~ The Heart Changer
 Genres ~ Children & Young Adult, Fiction, Middle Grade
  ISBN: 9781620208687 
 Price: $12.99 
Ages ~ Middle school aged

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Learn to read in 4 weeks with Learning Dynamics ~ a TOS review

We are entering our 12th year of homeschooling and I am down to my last child to teach how to read! It’s bittersweet, really. What if I told you that You can teach your child to read in just 4 weeks? With the help of the children’s reading program from Learning Dynamics Reading Program from Learning Dynamics your child can be reading.

Learning Dynamics is a multi-sensory, phonics-based reading program that helps children develop language and comprehension skills through a variety of activities including sequencing, rhyming, classification, same/different, and opposites. The founder of this program found that while many children are taught their letters and sounds early on, they struggle to actually read in elementary school. Learning Dynamics was created to bridge the gap and to help get children reading, confidently in just 4 weeks.

We received the entire Learning Dynamics Reading Program that is geared for children as young as preschool. In just 15 minutes a day, 3 times a week the program teaches reading through:
~ phonics methodology ~ structure through fun games, songs, and lessons ~ multi-sensory lessons

The entire program comes packed in a tiny box that packs a big punch. Packed neatly inside the yellow and blue box you will find the:

 ~ Lesson Manual: is a spiral covered soft covered book packed with all the lessons you need to get your child reading. The Lesson Manual contains easy to follow scripted lessons plans on one single page so you will have just what to say.

~ Student Workbook: the worksheets for the students are found inside this spiral covered soft book. Also in the single page format. The illustrations are sized just right for younger children. My son enjoyed coloring his pages.

~ Music CD: with over 30 songs including the alphabet son this is a great compliment to the program as a whole. The alphabet song is not the traditional song, but still it is fun once you hear it a few times.

~ Flashcards: each letter has flashcards that connect the story characters to the lessons. These are printed on a sturdy cardstock material.

~ Reward cards: letter characters are found on these smaller reward flashcards. These come on a heavy cardstock material and help connect the letter sound and character to the lesson as well.

~ and over 50 reader books!: readers for 4 levels of reading fun.

Using this reading program with Micah, my 5 year old has been an adventure. He has been eager to learn to read like his older sisters so this program arrived just at the right time for us. He knows all his letters by sight and sounds so jumping into the program was easy for him.

We typically worked 3 days a week but sometimes we would complete more than one lesson but he wanted to do more. Can he read? Yes! Micah is able to sound out a few words on his own. We have not gotten into the long vowel sounds and have just been focusing on the short vowels with the CVC words.

I really like this program! The scripted lessons help me feel confident in knowing that I am hitting all the important parts of the lesson. The entire program is comprehensive and easy to implement in our home. I do wish it was a little bit more hands on in terms of activities etc. But I may be a little biased because that is typically how I teach my children to read.

If you do find that it is not a good fit for your family, the company is confident in their program offering a 30-day money back guarantee! However, once you get a copy and start using it yourself I don’t think you will need to take advantage of the money back guarantee. I feel this program is golden and we will continue to utilize it as we head into Micah’s official Kindergarten year. But don’t just take my word for it! Check out what my CrewMates think of this children’s reading program by clicking the banner below!

Learning Dynamics Reading Program  {Learning Dynamics Reviews}

 Format ~ box set 
 Ages ~ pre-K and up

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Matific Galaxy~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! We are in full swing of our summer learning and today I am excited to share with you an online math resource that my youngest daughter, McKenzie, has been enjoying. It’s called Matific Galaxy and it is an online math resource that provides fun activities for learning and practicing math skills such as counting, ordering, addition, and subtraction. Let me tell you more about it!

At the elementary level I love to have several fun game options to help my kids learn concepts. We received a one-year subscription to the online program that features math games for students in K-6th grade for use with just one child.

I picked McKenzie, my rising 4th grader, because the program is something she can use on her tablet or phone while waiting at the gym in between her trainings.

Matific Galaxy is an award-winning site that features hundreds of math games in a fun environment without the stress that naturally comes along for some children (and parents too) with math. Through game based activities your child will learn a variety of topics in the 4th grade level including:

Getting started learning is as simple as setting up the account and jumping in. You can also access the program through the app, which is what we did. Everyone begins at level one for the grade level they choose to begin with. Each level has its own specific characters for that level. As the child progresses through the ten different worlds they earn trophies and medals for answering correctly. A parent dashboard is provided as well so that you can easily track progress and see what skills your child may be struggling with.

Using this online math resource with McKenzie three days a week has been a great addition to her summer learning. I really like that the program is portable because she is spending more time at the gym this year. With this program she can easily learn on her downtime. The fact that it is fun and engaging and she keeps playing after her 20 minute required time is a testament to the program as a whole.
Grow Your Math Skills with Matific Galaxy {Matific Galaxy Reviews}
I look forward to continuing to use this program the rest of the summer and as we head into our new school year and fall semester. But don’t just take my word for it! Check out what 49 of my CrewMates think of this fun online math resource with educational math games for elementary school students. It gets two thumbs up from us.

Grow Your Math Skills with Matific Galaxy {Matific Galaxy Reviews}

Company ~ Matific Galaxy
 Product ~ Matific Galaxy
Format ~ online or on the app 
 Price ~ Single grade $19.99 or Full range K-6th for $39.99 
 Ages ~ K-6th graders

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Jump In, 2nd edition ~ a TOS review

Writing is a top priority here at A Stable Beginning. We have tried many writing programs over our 10+ years of homeschooling. Some that have worked and some that did not quite fit the bill. We feel that writing is a skill that grows with you through daily use so I was delighted to try out another great program, Jump In, 2nd edition, when it was offered for review. Writing with Sharon Watson makes teaching homeschool composition easy with Jump In, 2nd Edition.

Sharon Watson is a former homeschool mom who only quit homeschooling because she ran out of children of her own to teach. She began her company Writing With Sharon Watson after sitting in a friend’s kitchen chatting it up with Dr. Jay Wile {Yes, the Dr. Wile, how cool is that!} about how many mothers were outsourcing, i.e.driving their children here and there and everywhere, for writing and composition lessons. At the suggestion of Dr. Wile she wrote up her first middle school course, Jump In, and the rest is history.

With the Jump In program your student will learn: 

~ the nine types of essays 
~ a research report 
~ story writing
~ poetry

In the 98 daily instructional lessons your student will practice everything from writing topic sentences, a thesis statement, citations, and other essential building blocks of composing a well crafted paper. The tone of the student guide is written to the student in a friendly way too.

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

I used this program primarily with Montana my rising 7th grader over the course of the review period. Since we received a digital copy I only printed the the pages Montana needed each week and kept the Teacher Guide open on my computer for easy reference.

The lessons were easy enough for Montana to work independently after I had given instruction. She typically worked with the lesson for 25-30 minutes, 3 days a week. To follow up the lesson, we would discuss any hiccups or concerns she had during our daily meeting time and then make corrections before moving on in the lesson.

I personally think Jump In, 2nd edition is a keeper! It is a thorough program and you can be sure that your child will be able to write and convey what they mean on written paper. The price is nice too for all that you receive with this program. Economically priced at just $40.00 for the Student book and $10.00 for the teacher’s guide, this combo is sure to fit into everyone's budget. I highly recommend that you check this out if you are looking for a strong writing curriculum for your high schoolers. It's easy on the pocketbook and it gets the job done! I think this book could easily be used by any student, whether a homeschoolers or not.

Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of this curriculum by clicking the banner below.

Jump In, 2nd Edition {Writing with Sharon Watson Reviews}

Company ~ Writing with Sharon Watson 
 Product ~ Jump In, 2nd edition 
 Format ~ We received a Digital copy 
 Price ~ $40 student guide, $10 teacher guide 
 Ages ~ middle school

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© 2008 - 2019 A Stable Beginning. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.