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 15th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

WAY Comes Home Kit from Homeschool Scholastics ~ a TOS review

WAY Comes Home Kit
We've added a homeschool health program, WAY Comes Home Kit, from HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company to our weekly schedule. It’s and is a nationally recognized health program especially designed for homeschooling families just like ours.

WAY, stands for Wellness, Academics & You. This homeschool health program is a multidisciplinary curriculum that models health, wellness, and nutrition while utilizing math, science, language arts, visual arts and reading. Many studies have shown that students learn better this way, rather than just learning a single subject. Instead children learn how to use everyday life skills and how to make better, informed decisions. HomeSchool Scholastics sent us their WAY Comes Home Kit to review.

WAY Comes Home Kit

Inside this box of goodies was:
 ~ Teacher's Book 
~ Activity DVD 
~ Kindergarten to First grade consumable journal 
~ Second through Third grade consumable journal 
~ Fourth through Fifth grade consumable journal 
~ A packet of WAY vocabulary cards and illustrations that are consumable. *includes the cards for each level 
~ Hands-on items including an ink pad, stethoscope, trays, a plastic scale, 2 foam balls, plastic eggs, and fun manipulatives 
~ MyPyramid Poster and guide

The interactive lessons are laid out in an easy to follow plan to get your family moving. The three different levels of consumable student journals is the perfect way for the children to keep the information they are learning in. It is recommended for each student to have their own journal and they are sold in three different learning levels. Best part is that the levels all tie into one another so multi-level teaching is a breeze. The entire WAY Comes Home kit retails for $39.95 and includes everything you need for the entire  program.

WAY Comes Home Kit

We have been working our way through this program using a lesson spread over a two-week time frame. I have enjoyed helping my children see that making the best food choices help fuel their bodies, especially since I have athletes that train anywhere between 16-28 hours a week. This has been the perfect program turn to when we need a much needed brain break. We have enjoyed all the funny jokes built into the program to reinforce learning.

WAY Comes Home Kit

Will we keep using this program after the journals are finished? You bet we will! The exercise videos on the DVD will have us coming back for more. Want to know what my CrewMates thought of this product? Be sure to click the banner below and read the reviews of my 39 CrewMates too!

WAY Comes Home Kit Review

Format ~ physical kit 
Price ~ $39.95 
Ages ~ K-5th grade

WAY Comes Home Kit

Social Media Links: 
 Twitter @WAYComesHome 

#hsreviews #WAYComesHome #HomeschoolNutrition #HomeschoolHealth

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©2008 - 2016 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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday McKenzie!

Today McKenzie you are 7!
What more can I say,
You're becoming more special
Each and every day,
So blow out your candles
One by one
Enjoy your birthday
Have lots of fun!
~birthday poems online

©2008 - 2016 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.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Weekly Wrap Up: Milestones

You know how the saying goes that you need a vacation from your vacation? Well, I felt that this week for sure! We came home Sunday evening from our beach vacation and hit the books and activities full force Monday morning.

Normally Montana and McKenzie do not school on Monday's but we needed to this week because Friday we dropped of Marie for Sophomore year. Marie has a great room this year in an apartment type of suite. There are 6 other girls in her apartment and she shares a room with one girl, a Junior. So far, things are going great and she starts school on Monday morning.

Here are some pictures of the common areas of the apartment. They girls haven't put any touches on it yet, as this was move in day, but I am sure it will be fabulous very soon considering 4 of the 7 girls are art/fashion majors.

School this week was a blur honestly. We got things accomplished but it seems like we did not. The big thing is that I had to make sure Mikayla is ready for her virtual co-op class that starts on Tuesday. The homework assignment is due Sunday evening and it is a stretch. She is not used to this amount of work in history, but it is a good thing!

I hit 1000 miles in Gibby this week. As of today though I am already at 1500 :-) I love this power wagon! It is so nice to not have to worry about the kids being squished and fussing because they are squished. 

Next week, I am looking forward to getting back to full schedule and all of the classes scheduled for everyone. We have already made a few changes to curriculum, specifically writing. I will tell you more about that next week.

I hope you have had a blessed week!

Some reviews from this week:

Weekly Wrap-Up
©2008 - 2016 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.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer Vacation 2016 ~ Onslow Beach Resort

We spent a glorious week at Onslow Beach on Camp Lejeune this past week! It was a much needed vacation from all the running and busyness of life.

Initially, we were going to board our dogs, Max & Mollie but the kennel wanted $$$$. More than I was willing to pay for a week. Not to mention the fact that Max kind of went a little crazy the last time he came home from there earlier this year during travel season. So, the people at the resort were able to move us to a pet friendly Osprey that was perfect!

The house we stayed in was awesome! It was a handicap accessible unit so it had a wrap around ramp that is great for two year olds who need to run out some energy. Since it was handicap accessible it also had the stand up shower in the bathroom which was so much easier to shower the little's after spending the day in the sand.

The beach was just what we needed. Relaxing yet fun! The kids had a blast hunting ghost crabs and finding fossilized shark teeth. They actually caught a ghost crab one night and they were convinced they were bringing it home as a pet. They even went as far as researching how to take care of it. Sadly it died in captivity.

Mikayla is a shark teeth finding guru! She could spot them so easily and pluck them out of the sand. I think she found 30+ shark teeth. I found 0, LOL! One of the other guests found a huge one, the size of his palm, but we were not so lucky.

Overall, we had a relaxing week on the surf and sand and watching the last of the Summer Olympics at night. We all look forward to going back next year!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Can Do Cubes ~ a TOS review

Spelling and Phonics practice just got 10 x’s better since we have been using our Can Do Cubes from {just2ducks LLC} to learn letter sounds, digraphs, and blending. Earlier this week I shared about the new phonics program, Jolly Phonics, that I am using to teach McKenzie and Micah the 42 sounds that make up the English language. Let me tell you a little more about the Can Do Cubes.

Just what are Can Do Cubes? Well, for starters they are super cool, 6-sided, finely polished wooden blocks that are laser engraved with the letters of the alphabet along with the alphabetic code. The Can Do Cubes are separated into two stages and focus on hands-on, multi-sensory learning of the alphabetic code that goes along with the Jolly Phonics program and help children decode the phonemes, or sounds, of the English language.

You can use these cubes with any phonics or spelling program but they are especially packaged to be used to teach a small group of sounds in specific order, like in the photo above.

 Is that confusing? I hope not! It’s really quite simple. Think for example, when you say the word “they” you are not taught to spell it “t-h-e-y” in this program. Rather, you are asked to think of the sounds that the letters make together as a whole and spell the word as “th-ey”, because “ey” says “a”. The blocks give you the ability to literally build words.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

For this review we were blessed to receive: 
~ 1 Tray of 27 Cubes in Stage 1 which present the simple alphabetic code 
~ 1 Tray of 30 Cubes plus 2 cubes connected with a string to represent split digraph sounds in Stage 2 Cubes which present the more complex alphabetic code 
~ Handbooks for Stage 1 and Stage 2
 ~ DVD with Interactive Demonstration of Sounding Out of Letter/Sounds Presented by Debbie Hepplewhite, who is a synthetic phonics consultant
 ~ Phonics Chart 
~ Word Chart
 ~ Online Templates and Worksheets in PDF Format for printing

Can Do Cubes are perfect for preschool prep through elementary students. The complete set of Can Do Cubes that we received retails for $95.00 and shipping is always free for US schools.

Micah (2) and McKenzie (6) love, love, love using these hands-on cubes during school time. We have been using the cubes alongside our reading/phonics and spelling programs with McKenzie and just for teaching Micah his letter sounds. A few times blocks have been everywhere because of busy two-year old hands, but luckily they have a little number on the bottom so I know just where they belong in the set in the nice box set.

I can’t say enough good things about these cubes! For such a tiny product, they pack a big punch in helping to take the stress out of learning phonics. If your children are hands-on learners, then definitely check out these cubes if your budget allows. We wholeheartedly give these 2 thumbs up and they will get many, many years of usage in our homeschool.

 Be sure to check out what my CrewMates thought of these cubes too by clicking the banner below!

Can Do Cubes

Company ~ {just2ducks LLC} 
Product ~ Can Do Cubes 
Format ~ physical product
 Price ~ $95.00 complete set, includes shipping
 Ages ~ Preschool - elementary
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Social Media Links:
 Hashtags: #hsreviews #literacy #reading #phonics #interactivelearning

Crew Disclaimer
©2008 - 2016 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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

©2008 - 2016 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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar ~ a TOS review

Did you know that there are 42 sounds in the English language that make up the 26 letters? Isn’t that fascinating? To be a fluent reader one must be fluent in recognizing and saying the sounds that go with each corresponding letter. Over the summer I had the opportunity to use the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar program from {just2ducks LLC}.
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar has been used in many schools and homeschooling families throughout America since Sue Lloyd developed the program in 1977 to help the students in her class learn to read. It is a multi-sensory, hands-on program that teaches reading and grammar in a fun and exciting way.

 We received the following components in our Jolly package:

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
• Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book in print letters: The Teacher’s Book is designed to use with each of the corresponding Jolly Phonics Student Books, 1,2, and 3. Detailed plans for each lesson are included in this guide and the books are separated into color-coded pages for easy reference.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
• Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, 2 and 3 In books 1-3 students are introduced to all 43 letter sounds. {There are actually 42 letter sounds if you count that “C” and ‘K” make the same sound}. Ideally, new readers should be taught one letter a day but not in alphabetical order. Instead, this program groups the letter sounds in this order:

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
• Jolly Grammar 1 Teacher's Book in print letters The grammar program equips you with material in order to introduce grammar, teach spelling systematically, improve covabulary and comprehension, as well as extend phonics knowledge. It is meant to follow on from the Jolly Phonics program. Detailed lesson plans are also included in the guide for each of the sections presented.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
• Jolly Grammar 1 Student Book: With the grammar book your student will learn the parts of speech through actions and colors, punctuation, plurals, and tenses. It also teaches the spelling rules and consonant blends.
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
• Jolly Songs in print letters: This is a gem of a CD! It includes 40 tacks that teach all the phonemes in the program with the songs sung to well known songs like Jingle Bells or The Farmer in the Dell. A colorful picture goes along with each letter song and is perfect for active learning and getting the wiggles out.

I was able to use this program with McKenzie (6) and Micah (2) over the last month during our lite summer schooling session. Both are eager learner so getting them to sit down and work on the colorful, kid friendly pages was easy as pie. The lessons are super short too, so it really did not feel like school work for them or me either. I started McKenzie, my 1st grader, on the latter half of the Jolly Phonics Student Book 1 in the blends section. She knows her letter sounds but needs a little bit of help with blending so it was great review before we moved onto Jolly book 2.

McKenzie prefers this phonics program over a very popular code program that we have used in our homeschooling for years. I really wish I had the Jolly Phonics program when my now 4th grader was learning phonics!

For Micah I did not have him do any of the handwriting work. I just introduced the sounds and used letter flashcards and danced, a lot, to the letter songs. I love that he is getting a head start on learning his sounds just from playing this CD at home or while on the road.

My older children don’t mind listening to the CD either because the songs are that fun. Be sure to check back later this week for an additional Jolly Phonics product, Can Do Cubes, that we have been using in conjunction with our Jolly Phonics. We love this phonics set and give it 2 thumbs up!.

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

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

Company ~ Jolly Literacy 
Product ~ Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar 
Format ~ physical books and CD 
Price ~ Jolly Phonics Teacher's Book is $12.95, Student Books are $4.50 each. Jolly Grammar 1 Teacher's Book is $8.50, Jolly Student Book 1 in print is $7.50. Songs book with CD is $17.50. 
 Ages ~ preschool and up
Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review
Social Media Links 

 #hsreviews #literacy #reading #phonics #interactivelearning

Crew Disclaimer
©2008 - 2016 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.