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 11th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Literature based approach.

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



Friday, July 19, 2019

The Crafty Classroom: Pattern Block Activity Bundle ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! Today I have the opportunity to share a fantastic bundle called the Pattern Block Activity Bundle from the Crafty Classroom! If you are looking for a great Kindergarten and up activity then definitely keep reading.



I really enjoy the younger years of learning when little learners eyes fill with wonder when they experience something for the first time. It may seem like a simple task or puzzle to us as adults but to them it is truly amazing and awesome. My son, Micah (5), loves hands-on learning. For the past few weeks his has been working his way through the Pattern Block Activity Bundle.


The Crafty Classroom is the brainchild of Valerie McClintick who produces top quality educational resources for math, reading, science, alphabet, Bible, writing, and more! All of her products are priced affordably so you are not going to break the bank getting quality curriculum material. We received a digital download PDF of the curriculum designed for children in preschool to grade 3 that includes hundreds of hands-on learning.


The product is divided into 5 categories including: 
 ~ ABC & 123 
~ Animal Bundle 
~ Holiday Bundle 
 ~ Four Seasons 
~ Transportation 


With over 700+ pages, this bundle is choke full of illustrated full color activities. The entire set is differentiated and includes 3 levels of skill for each category. Plus, you have 8 bonus activity pages that cover counting, tally marks, graphing, addition, subtration, writing, shape identification, inequalities, ordinal numbers, number words, and sequencing. For just $25.00 you get a lot of bang for your buck! And don’t fret if printing in color gives you the willies, there are black and white options too.




Micah loves this set! I love it that instead of buying sets here and there we have so many options. To help organize the bundle I printed out each sections pages at the medium level. I further put each page inside a sheet protector so that he could write on the bottom when counting the shapes and easily erase as well. I then stored them in 1” binders.


With this set up Micah is able to grab a binder and work through whichever set he choses. He typically spent 30+ minutes working on different pages 2-3 days a week. I did not use the bonus pages just yet as the writing is above his level for now. However, I look forward to using these pages when he gets a little more advanced in writing.


 In his words… “this is the best”! 

But don’t just take our word for it! Check out what 49 of my CrewMates thought of this set and the other sets that were up for review from the Crafty Classroom by clicking the link below.
Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}

These include: 


Hands-on, Low-prep and Ready to Go Learning - Tots to 3rd Grade {Crafty Classroom Reviews}

 Format ~ PDF copy
 Price ~ $25.00 
 Ages ~ PK- grade 3

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Wordless Wednesday



© 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.         

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Online piano lessons with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course from Simply Music ~ a TOS review


Happy Tuesday friends! If you have ever thought about piano lessons for yourself or your children but are unsure if would be worth the time and investment you'll want to check out the Music & Creativity - Foundation Course from Simply Music.

Years ago my daughter Montana, expressed an interest in playing the piano. We didn’t have the means to get her lessons but were blessed to receive several reviews related to piano lessons. Fast forward a few years and once again we have been offered an opportunity for online piano lessons with the Simply Music 21 lesson course.

Simply Music was created by Neil Moore, a passionate music teacher, he created this program to give everyone access online. Simply Music is a self-study program so you can work as quickly or slowly through the program for mastery. The program is completely free in celebration of their 20th anniversary.

Within the 21 lessons you will learn to get your finger placements down right in the first lesson. Mr. Moore helps teach you this by showing you correct hand movements during the lessons. Through short and easy lessons you and your student will be introduced to classical, contemporary, and blues pieces to play.

To get started you just need access to the internet to watch the videos and to listen to the provided soundtracks. You also need a piano or keyboard with at least 61 keys. It’s helpful if the keyboard has a jack to plug in a set of headphones.


Montana liked the program and we strived to use it at least three times a week for at least 20 minutes. While she does not necessarily have the same desire to play the piano as she did when she was younger, it was still a program that she enjoyed doing.



I think this would be an excellent program for any student who is self motivated to learn. Mr. Moore is a great teacher and he has invested a lot into his program and it shows.

Learn to Play the Piano with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course {Simply Music Reviews}
Be sure to check out what 44 of my CrewMates thought of taking online piano lessons by clicking the banner below.

Learn to Play the Piano with Music & Creativity - Foundation Course {Simply Music Reviews}

Company ~ Simply Music
Product ~ Music & Creativity - Foundation Course 
 Format ~ online lessons 
 Price ~ FREE 
 Ages ~ elementary through adult
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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.    
   
   http://astablebeginning.com

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 SchoolhouseTeachers.com 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 ~  SchoolhouseTeachers.com 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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© 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.         

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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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© 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.        
 http://astablebeginning.com