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.



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wordless Wednesday




©2008 - 2018 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, February 27, 2018

Starfall Education Foundation: Starfall Home Membership ~ a TOS review

Daily screen time is important to my kids, especially my younger ones. I like to be able to give them quality time while using their electronics, so I am always on the lookout to turn learning into play. We get just that with The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation.


So, have you heard of Starfall? If not, let me tell you a little more about it. Over the last six weeks my 3-year old preschooler, Micah, has been using the program. And let me tell you he loves it! Truth be told my 15, 11, and 8 year olds enjoy it too!


Starfall is an awesome interactive early education program for your youngest students aged PreK through 2nd grade. As a stand- alone program, it teaches early language arts and math skills through games, songs, and activities. The program covers a wide range of topics including numbers, phonics, nursery rhymes, letter and sound recognition, as well as patterns. The interactive features the program offers makes it one of the most engaging early learning programs available today. As your child progresses in age and skill more advanced topics such as addition, subtraction, and advanced phonics are introduced as well.


Setting up the program is as easy as establishing an account and logging on. In fact, my son knows exactly how to do that by himself. One of the features I enjoy most is that a single yearly membership can be used by all immediate family, including grandparents, and accessed on all of our devices, computers or tablets, alike. Just use the email and password you entered at registration and you are set.


My son loves changing his personal avatar. In fact he changes it everytime he logs on to play. Some days he has a Mohawk and other days he is bald with glasses. It's quite funny, but he loves being able to customize himself as well as change the different clothes he wears on the program. Hands down though, my son's favorite part of the program are the math songs! He loves all of the songs but the Today is Monday song is by far his favorite one. Click HERE to see him singing. Maybe it's because it is a song about food and pizza is his favorite. I don't know, but I know it is played all the time and he sings along to it. In the Talking Library section you can choose to have Nonfiction and Fiction & Poetry books read aloud to you. These stories are interactive and fun with engaging graphics to keep my little guys attention.


I am not quite sure how I had never looked into a membership with Starfall, but let me tell you it has changed the way I look at daily screen time. About two weeks after using the program daily I noticed my son was more interested in learning his letters and counting. He sings songs like The More we get Together, The Alphabet Song, and many of the nursery rhymes from memory. When we are out and about he frequently tells me the letters he sees on signs, cars, or buildings.


Micah loves his Starfall time! So much so, he gets a little grumpy when the computer automatically turns off because it is time for bed. His knowledge has expanded exponentially just from using the program daily for the last six weeks. I have told many of my friends with preschoolers to get a membership to Starfall! This is one program that has my highest recommendations for online learning for preschoolers through 2nd grade.


Be sure to see what my CrewMates think of the Starfall Home Membership by clicking the banner below!

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}

Format ~ online, or through the Starfall app 
Price ~ $35.00 yearly membership 
Ages ~ Preschoolers - 2nd grade
Starfall

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©2008 - 2018 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, February 22, 2018

Bytes of Learning: UltraKey Online Family Subscription ~ a TOS review

Being able to type proficiently on a keyboard is an essential tool in life. And I am not talking about a phone keyboard, but a regulation computer keyboard. Well, at least it is in my book and I am excited to tell you about a new typing program we have discovered: UltraKey Online Family Subscription from Bytes of Learning.


This year my 5th grader, Montana is taking her first online history class and the answers to the homework questions are typed. In the beginning it was brutal because it was taking her hours upon hours to type her work out with the hunt and peck method. She has made great progress since August but having the UltraKey program at our disposal has been a blessing as she gets faster and more accurate with each weeks use.

UltraKey Online Family Edition

The UltraKey program is a self-paced, online typing tutorial that teaches correct finger placement as well as proper posture for ages 8 through adults. The ideal use of the program is for 20-30 minute lessons range from first learning where the letters are on the keyboard, to letter combination, progressing to words, and finally putting together complete sentences.

Right now, UltraKey Online is only oriented to the North American keyboard, with North America spelling and content. United Kingdom and Australian/New Zealand orientations will be implemented sometime during 2018. Working at a daily rate will produce faster results, but even using the program once a week will still produce results.

It is recommended before diving fully into the program, that the homeschool teacher thoroughly understand the instructional interface of the program including the management dashboard. This is super easy though even though it may seem complicated at first glance. A skill assessment is also given and throughout the program there are proper posture movies as well as correct finger placement movies that need to be watched. Hands down the best feature of the family subscription is that the program actually sets the pace for each member of the family! How cool is that!

UltraKey Online Family Edition

I was so glad to have the opportunity to review the UltraKey Online Family Subscription provided by Bytes of Learning with Montana! I remember taking a keyboarding class in high school and learning to type 75 words per minute. Since then I have studied Stenography, court reporting, and learned to type 165 words per minute on my Steno machine. I have since put my stenography on the back burner as I homeschool my children but I do insist on the girls learning to type properly and not use the hunt and peck way.

With UltraKey is am confident that not only are they getting top notch instruction but they are having fun too. My goal for Montana is to have her be able to type at least 35 wpm by the end of this school year. To help her reach this goal she will continue using this program. I think this is an attainable goal for her as she progresses with her typing skills. With UltraKey Online Family Subscription Bytes of Learning provides fun, engaging media-rich instruction for learning how to type.

Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of this review by clicking the banner below to read how they used the UltraKey Online in their homeschools.

UltraKey {Bytes of Learning Reviews}

Company ~ Bytes of Learning 
Format ~ online interface 
Ages ~ 8 years through adult

UltraKey Bytes of Learning
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Crew Disclaimer


2008 - 2018 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, February 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday




2008 - 2018 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, February 20, 2018

Heirloom Audio Productions: Wulf the Saxon ~ a TOS review


Everytime we get a package from the folks at Heirloom Audio Productions it is like we hit the jackpot! Heirloom Audio Productions just released the ninth installment of their newest audio drama with the story of the Norman conquest in Wulf the Saxon!


Having reviewed several of the other titles from Heirloom Audio we are quite familiar with the outstanding Christian radio theater they produce. My children love listening to these audio dramas based off the novels of G.A. Henty. Since this is our busy travel season with gymnastics and we spend most weekends out on the road, I elected to not turn the CD set over to my children to listen to immediately. Instead, I hid it in our Big Boy Gibby (van) for our upcoming road trip to Atlanta. Listening to this story was a pleasant surprise and welcomed relief to the monotonous radio songs.

Wulf the Saxon

During the 19th century, G.A. Henty's adventure books became popular and well known for emphasizing traits of courage, high moral character, diligence, and perseverance. Heirloom Audio Productions is passionate about bringing history's most daring expeditions and greatest adventures to life in exciting and engaging audio dramas. Each Heirloom Audio Productions CD tells the real life historical event from a G.A. Henty novel. Not only do you get to experience the event, you get to meet the people who shaped the event firsthand. With their newest released title, Wulf the Saxon, they have set the bar even higher than the other titles and it does not disappoint!


If you have been reading this blog for a while, then you know that we love good books and audio books too. Over the last year and a half, I have come to appreciate audio books more and more as I spend a good amount of time driving the my children here and there. Now that we have another gymnast in the house it has been an even busier competition season.


From the moment the CD starts you be transported back to the year 1065, when Edward the Confessor is the King of England. A young Saxon landholder, Wulf, quickly earns the respect from those above him that he serves. Through Wulf's undying devotion to duty, courage, and honor helps him and his devout Christian friend, Harold, as they find themselves shipwrecked on the shores of Normandy just outside the battle of Hastings. As the story progresses from beginning to end you hear firsthand how the course of history was decided. How brothers became enemies, how a boy became a man, and how a nation was born.


For this review we received the two CD set of this high energy and fast pace story focused on building character for the next generation all the while bringing history lessons to life within the chapters. With the extremely high quality audio reenactments, this story it is perfect for ages 6 years old to adult. The realities of war do shine through, just so you are aware, so please use caution if listening with younger children because there are some intense scenes. I love that the cover of the CD case depicts the story with clean, simple lines, yet makes you want to pick up the CD and see just what it is about. While this time around we did not receive access to the corresponding Study Guide, it and other resources are available when you join the Live the Adventure Club.

Heirloom Audio Productions

So, what's the bottom line?! It is an understatement when I say we love this CD! I love that the Henty stories from Heirloom Audio Productions not only entertain and educate the listener, but they always point back to Christ. I wholeheartedly recommend this product to any and all looking to add a bit of family friendly audio / radio drama into the homes. We are especially excited for the next adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions! If you want to know what it is you'll have to listen to this story for a sneak peek.


Heirloom Audio Productions has produced nine other audio theaters including: 

~ Under Drakes Flag 
~ In Freedoms Cause 
~ With Lee in Virginia 
~ The Dragon & The Raven 
~ Beric The Briton 
~ The Cat of Bubastes 
~ In the Reign of Terror 
~ Captain Bayley's Heir


Heirloom Audio Adventure Club
See what my CrewMates thought of this Christian audio drama, Wulf the Saxon, by clicking the banner below.

Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Product ~ Wulf the Saxon 
Format ~ physical 2-disk CD set 
Price ~ Instant MP3 download at $24.97 or $29.97 for physical two-disk set 
 Ages ~ 6yrs - adults

Heirloom Audio Productions

Social Media Links: 
Facebook
Twitter @HeirloomStories      
Pinterest @heirloomaudio    
Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial   
Google+ 
YouTube  

Crew Disclaimer
2008 - 2018 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, February 14, 2018

Wordless Wednesday


2008 - 2018 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, February 4, 2018

Snapshots of Us {29 - 35/ 365}




29/365 ~ It’s getting real now that Madison will graduate May 2019! She is applying to five different summer Pre-College programs and the last two weeks I have been knee deep in getting her official paperwork together. Next up is the counselor report and then printing the course descriptions. Thankfully I don’t have to start from scratch for every course she took since I can update the ones used for Marie. (29/365) #astablebeginning#snapshotsofus #365homeschool#deadlineslooming #brownhomeschool365#classicaleducation #homeeducator


30/365 ~ McKenzie needed a refresher in counting money today so we did a little hands-on learning. (30/365) #astablebeginning #snapshotsofus#365homeschool  #brownhomeschool365#homeschool365


31/365 ~ Madison enlists her siblings help in her last physics experiment. Can you spot the egg? (31/365) #astablebeginning #365homeschool#brownhomeschool365 #homeeducator#physicsclass


32/365 ~ I spent 2.5 hours in the local Homeschool bookstore this afternoon and found some great finds including these two items with my store credit. Then I moseyed on over to the teacher supply store and spent my gift card from Christmas. (32/365) #astablebeginning#365homeschool  #snapshotsofus#brownhomeschool365 #homeschoolhaul#homeschool365 #newcurriculum


33/365 ~ My new washer came. I was sad to see old blue leave but I love that this new washer is bigger than the last so it washes more clothes in fewer loads each day. 😁 (33/365) #astablebeginning#snapshotsofus#backinthewashingbusiness



34/365 ~ Saturday schooling finishing up work. (34/365) #astablebeginning #snapshotsofus#homeeducator


35/365 ~ I worked Bingo last night and my little man waited up for me, until 1145 pm ❤️ so sweet of him but he’s a little tired like his Mama today. (35/365) #astablebeginning #snapshotsofus#thethingswedoforourkids#gymnasticsmom


2008 - 2018 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.