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 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

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



Thursday, April 30, 2015

La La Logic ~ a TOS review

La La Logic Review

Are you teaching older children with a preschooler in the house? Do you need some fun early learning options to keep them occupied while you work with your bigs? Then definitely check out the Preschool Curriculum from La La Logic.

La La Logic Review

La La Logic is more than just a fun sounding name. It’s preschool curriculum that teaches kids to learn through engaging hands-on activities. Using several components including online brain challenges and printable worksheets, the program does not focus on teaching the mechanics of reading and math, but rather it focuses  on the cognitive functions involved in acquiring, understanding, and utilizing knowledge for the math and reading skills needed in the future.

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I was able to use this program with McKenzie (5) over the course of the last six weeks. While it is labeled as a “preschool curriculum” it is geared to children aged 3-6 and  is broken down into 100 weeks of learning opportunities that can be completed either 4 or 5 days a week. In both the online and printable activities the coursework get progressively more challenging. Activities are broken down into three categories:

La La Logic Review

Brain Challenge ~ The Brain Challenge is the online portion of the program that includes short games to develop cognitive skills. {This portion is available to be played on PC, Mac, iPad, or Android tablets}.

La La Logic Review

Worksheets ~ The printable worksheet strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills. They also cover a wide variety of fine motor skills as your child learns to cut, paste, color.

La La Logic Review

Extension Activities (Enrichment) ~ This section features hands-on, play-based learning that young children crave. Activities include word games, scavenger hunts, solving puzzles, dramatic play, and learning logic games. Several features of Classical Education are included also, such as literature, nature study, poetry memorization, picture study, narration, and copy work. Many of the extension activities can be completed with objects you already have at home.

La La Logic Review

There is a suggested schedule to follow that takes just 10-20 minutes a day with some activities being optional.

Day 1

~ Brain Challenge (with assistance)

~ Extra Practice (optional)

Day 2

~ Enrichment Set

Day 3

~ Brain Challenge (independently)

~ Worksheet

Day 4

~ Enrichment Set

Day 5

~ Brain Challenge *revisit the same challenge from earlier in the week (optional)

~ Family Fun

La La Logic Review

Overall, I really enjoyed this program and so does McKenzie. We received a lifetime membership for the curriculum and I can see us using this program to strengthen her critical thinking skills until she completes the 100 weeks.

The variety of activities make this a great program for early learners. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment of doing “school” like the older siblings. McKenzie was excited to have her computer time, especially since her older sisters are in the midst of finalizing research papers and essays. She guarded her computer time and took it seriously. I look forward to being able to start little Micah on this program as he turns 3 in a few years.

Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this program by clicking the banner below!

La La Logic Review

 

Company ~ La La Logic

Product ~ Preschool Curriculum

Price ~ $29.00 *one time fee per household

Platform ~ PC, Mac, iPad, or Android tablets

Ages ~ 3-6 year olds

La La Logic Review

 

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©2008- 2015 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. http://astablebeginning.com

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

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©2008- 2015 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. http://astablebeginning.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ARTistic Pursuits: Early Elementary book 2 ~ a TOS review

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It’s always a fun day when we get to pull out the art supplies and create something fresh and new. I used to struggle to incorporate Art into our week, but not anymore since I have added the Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art from ARTistic Pursuits to our Masterpiece Monday lineup.

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ARTistic Pursuits offers a wonderful Art program put together to involve children in the creative process while developing skills of observation. with books ranging from for Preschool through High School, you are sure to find the right book for your family. 

ARTistic Pursuits Review

We received Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art for this review with Montana (8) and McKenzie (5).  With 36 easy to follow and do-able lessons, ARTistic Pursuits makes it easy to get a full year of Art in just this one book. Book 2 focuses on the lives of Master artists like Giotto, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Turner, who have been inspiring budding artists for generations. Interweaving the stories of individual artists within several different major periods of art from,13th century late Gothic to the academy artists of the 18th century, you and your child will cover a wide selection of great art projects including:

~ watercolor painting

~ oil pastels

~ printmaking

~ mixed media art 

ARTistic Pursuits Review
With books for many different levels you are sure to find one just right for your student(s)...

~ Preschool, ages 3-5

~ Early Elementary K-3rd, Book One
~ Early Elementary K-3rd, Book Two
~ Early Elementary K-3rd, Book Three

~ Elementary 4th-5th grade, Book One
~ Elementary 4th-5th grade, Book Two

~ Middle School 6th-8th, Book One
~ Middle School 6th-8th , Book Two     

~ Sr. High, Book One
~ Sr. High, Book Two

~ Sculpture Technique: Construct

~ Sculpture Technique: Model

~ Sculpture Technique: Carve {available 2016}

Artistic Pursuits has won many awards in the homeschooling community, including Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards, 2010 Homeschool Crew Favorite Fine Arts Product, and first place in the art category in the Excellence in Education awards.  Each of the books sell for $47.95 each and can be purchased HERE.  The great thing about them is that the pages are non-consumable so you can use the books again and again with your family.  ARTistic Pursuits also sells art supply packs needed to complete the the projects in the books and prices vary for that.  You can however find the items at your local craft store and be fine too.

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ARTistic Pursuits has met all of my expectations and then some! This art program has taken the struggle to incorporate art into our week away.  They will always be my go to curriculum when it comes to Art for my girls because of the ease of lessons and the open and go format of the books.  It’s no wonder they have won so many awards, the books are fabulous and we will continue to use them in our homeschool for many years to come! 

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Click on the banner below to see what my  Crewmates thought about the different books reviewed.

ARTistic Pursuits Review 

Company ~ ARTistic Pursuits

Product ~ Early Elementary K-3, Book 2: Stories of Artists and Their Art

Price ~ $47.95

Ages ~ K-3rd

ARTistic Pursuits Review

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©2008- 2015 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. http://astablebeginning.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

Star toaster: Orphs of the Woodlands: The Treasure of HighTower ~ a TOS review

Star Toaster Review

I am a huge fan of reading at our house. I like to get the girls to catch the reading bug at a young age and then have them take off with it. However, I do have one daughter that is not a huge fan of reading. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out we would be able to review a new online book called Orphs of the Woodlands : The Treasure of HighTower from Star Toaster.

Star Toaster Review

The Star Toaster Team believes that learning is a lifelong experience with opportunities all around us. They also believe that children learn best  primarily in the home regardless of where they school {i.e. home, private, or public}. The Orphs of the Woodlands material is presented in such an entertaining and engaging manner way that children don’t even realize they are learning! Not only does it fill in the missing gaps, but it also instills a desire to learn.

I received a year long subscription to use with up to three children. At the time of this review, I only focused on having Mikayla, my 6th grader, complete the program.

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Orphs of the Woodlands is an online educational series like no other that encourages the love of learning, all the while helping to develop positive character traits in children. Designed to capture your child’s imagination, your child will embark on an educational journey that includes:

Star Toaster Review

1. A reading adventure ~ This series is about a squirrel {who you get to name} who becomes a spy fighting against Night Creatures who are terrorizing the Woodlands. Your spy reluctantly finds himself responsible for a settlement of orphans known as the Orphs of the Woodlands. As the game progresses your squirrel develops a passion for the orphs and grows into a leader.

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2. An academic treasure ~ Hundreds of lessons in math, science, grammar, vocabulary, thinking skills, character, life skills, the arts, and more are woven into this exciting story. Not only is the story packed with knowledable things, but it also teaches your child how to learn.

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Several techniques are used to present material including: flashcards, videos, and memorytyper, a highly rated memorization system. At the completion of each chapter, lessons are reviewed before the spy works at “jobs” to earn his pay in the woodlands.

Jobs are actually fun exercises that allow students to improve on their skills. Payment for jobs is given in “goldstars”  currency for a job well done. The more skills a child learns, the higher their pay.

Star Toaster Review

3. A rewarding game ~ The money {goldstars} earned for the jobs is used to build a settlement for the orphs in a fun game of strategy. By strategizing and choosing the best course of the game,you can build the best settlement to sustain more orphs. Having enough goldstars to care for the orphs is a powerful motivator for children to master skills.

Mikayla loved this game just as I did! Getting her to read for pleasure daily has always been a struggle, but not with this program! Some days I would have to tell her to stop reading so that she could concentrate on the rest of the schoolwork. She  named her squirrel spy after her brother and read the book entirely on her Kindle Fire. Her only complaint was that she could only read it when she had access to Wi-Fi.

 

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My favorite part of the program would have to be the detailed emails that I received after Mikayla finished a chapter. I was able to see everything that she had learned within a specific chapter, to the number of lessons completed.

Star Toaster Review

Overall, we really enjoyed this program and I look forward to using it with Montana {my rising 3rd grader} over the summer. Normally, the subscription is two months long, with the option to extend a month. I would definitely recommend you checking out the free trial that is offered. You will have access to the first 100 pages and 50 lessons!

Be sure to check out what my Crewmates though of this program by clicking the banner below.

Star Toaster Review

Company ~ Star Toaster

Product ~ Orphs of the Woodlands : The Treasure of HighTower

Price ~ $19.99 two month subscription for 3 children, $6.99 for a 30 day extension

Ages ~ 4th – 7th grade

Star Toaster Review

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©2008- 2015 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. http://astablebeginning.com

Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Start Reading by Memoria Press ~ a TOS review

The thought of teaching my children to read used to make me tremble with fear? I know that’s probably silly to say out loud, but it is how I felt when we embarked on this homeschooling journey six years ago. I have since taught two children how to read and McKenzie, my 5 year old JrK’er, is the next in line to become a reader with the help of First Start Reading from Memoria Press.

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McKenzie is a very eager learner, always has been since she was a little toddler. She was having trouble remembering her letter sounds and letter recognition so I held off on teaching her to read. When this program was offered for review, I jumped at the chance because of past success with Montana.

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The First Start Reading Program takes on a classical, traditional approach to teaching phonics. We received the Teacher’s Guide and 4 Student books, A, B, C, & D. The program focuses on three important skills throughout the phonics program which include:

1.pencil grip & correct manuscript letter formation

2. mastering the sounds for consonants and vowels

3. mastering short and long vowel sounds, short 3-letter words and 45 common “sight” words

The Teacher’s Guide provides scripted lessons and everything you need as the teacher to successfully teach your child to read. It is a great resource for helping with vowel sounds, ear training, b-d confusion, and pencil grip.

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Scripted lessons make teaching the classical phonics program so easy. You don’t have to worry about what to say or what to write because it is all there right for you. In the beginning it is a bit repetitive, but McKenzie did not seem to mind.

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An important part of the daily learning is the phonics recitation. It includes 10 questions to ask your child each morning before beginning your lesson. Sample questions include asking “How many letters are there” and to “Name the vowels”. McKenzie and I went over this recitation in addition to our normal recitations each and every day.

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Each lesson covers the following categories:
~ Letter sounds
~ CVC Words (Common Word, which include sight words)
~ Reading skills such as beginning punctuation and plural sounds
~ Beginning Sentences

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{car schooling while waiting for big sisters at Girl Scouts}

McKenzie was so excited to get her mail. We began using the phonics program the day after it arrived! Because I had previously used this program with Montana, I also already had the supplemental Classical Phonics which is a handy little book for extra phonics practice. Since we are such huge fans of morning time recitations and Memoria Press I also already had the Kindergarten Complete Lesson Plans for One Year {First edition, 2009} in my possession. Inside this lesson plan book, the First Start Reading student books A-C are scheduled out for daily work over 27 weeks. I am confident that by the time we get to book D, I will be able to schedule out that book on my own. If not, I know I can upgrade my scheduled out plans.

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Currently, McKenzie and I are on day 1 of Week 6 according to the plans. Since we got a late start, we just take one day at a time and don’t really pay attention to the weeks. We start out our days by completing the phonics recitation. At first she was not too keen on doing these questions, especially reciting the alphabet while pointing to each letter. However, it has helped her letter recognition tremendously! Before she would do the normal LMNOP, instead of separating them as individual letters. Once I had her slow down and point to each letter within 2 weeks she had it straight and I could say point to letter “N” and she would know it.

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For the vowel’s I choose to highlight them in the back of her student book. McKenzie is a visual learner and seeing the vowels highlighted pink helped her know that those were the “special” letters that make their own special sounds.

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I am so excited to continue to use this program to completion with McKenzie and eventually with little Micah. It just works and now my little girl can READ! Something she has wanted to do for so long.

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I will sing praises to Memoria Press to all who will listen!  We LOVE this program and I have been recommending and sharing it with friends for the past few weeks whether or not they homeschool! 

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{I can read!!!} 

***click HERE to hear McKenzie reading ***

Memoria Press offers a wide assortment of homeschool material from Latin, Greek, Literature, to whole grade level sets from Junior Kindergarten through eighth grade. They graciously offered some members of the Crew to review their New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1 while others received the Classical Phonics program.  Check out what my Crewmates thought about these programs by clicking the banner below.

Memoria Press Review

 Company ~ Memoria Press

Product ~ First Start Reading

Price ~ $42.95

Ages ~ K – 2nd or for struggling readers

Memoria Press Review

*Stayed tuned for the beginning of June when we review Latina Christiana I Complete Set .

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©2008- 2015 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. http://astablebeginning.com