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.



Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Wordless Wednesday ~ GGI




© 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

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls ~ a TOS review

Morning friends! I have another great set of books for your elementary students this morning. I love sharing great books with you my readers and friends in real life so you are in for a real treat. Today I have a great set of books to share with you from WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group called The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape (Book #3) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Journey to Jericho (Book #4). They are both apart of the The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series.

Both books are penned by M.J. Thomas and present Biblical truths in a fun, fictional way. The target audience for these books are for children in grades 1-3 or ages 6-9. With just over 120 pages each they are perfect for kids just hitting the chapter book level. The pages of each of these paperback books are filled with black and white kid-friendly illustrations that add detail to the story but don’t distract overall.


Two years ago we reviewed the first two books in the series, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1) and The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2) and were blessed to receive an autographed copy of book 3 when it released. With the first three books, McKenzie read them aloud to me and her little brother, but now that she is a strong reader I let her dive into book 4 on her own.


In The Great Escape we continue to follow along with adventures with siblings Peter and Mary and their faithful dog Hank as they wander through the desert of ancient Egypt during the time of the Exodus. First hand they witness the devastation of the plagues as they watch Moses petition Pharaoh to set the Isrealites’ free. The trio races to solve the secret of the scrolls while being chased by a panther and battling Pharaoh’s devious advisor, the Great Magician.


In book 4, Journey to Jericho, Peter, Mary, and Hank are with the Israelites just as they are about to enter the Promised Land. But first they must help sneak Rahab to safety and join a secret mission to Jericho all the while eluding the Man in Black while solving the scroll.





The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}
Exposing my children to good quality books is a top priority in our house. McKenzie and I both have enjoyed these books tremendously and think you should definitely check them out to see if they would be a good fit for a young reader in your household.


Oftentimes, finding good quality literature is hard to do, but this series from M.J. Thomas has set the bar high and has us excited to read more! We can’t wait for the next installments of the books to be available. Be sure to see what my 59 CrewMates thought of these two books by clicking the banner below.
The Great Escape & Journey To Jericho {WorthyKids Reviews}
Company ~ WorthyKids, an imprint of Hachette Book Group
Product ~ The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series: The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape (Book #3) AND The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Journey to Jericho (Book #4)
Format ~ paperback books 
Price ~ $6.99 each 
Ages ~ 6-9 year olds, recommended reading level is grades 1-3



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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

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Immersive, adaptive learning from IXL ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! Today I wanted to share with you an online personalized learning program for Math and Language Arts program that we love to use in our homeschool. IXL Learning  offers so much more than just online math drill! We have been using our annual membership to IXL you get access to Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies! Have you had the chance to use IXL?If not, let me tell you more about it.

IXL offers a comprehensive Online program for grades K-12 in Math, Language Arts, grades 2-8 Science, grades 2-8 Social Studies, and intro to  Spanish. IXL is a technology company from its core beginnings. Innovative education is a top priority for the producers and it is shown in their dedication to providing state of the art online learning opportunities through their program.

The skills that IXL offers are based off of state standards if your state has them, our current state of VA does, they will be laid out and coordinated within the program to help keep your child on track One of the best feature, in my opinion, is the ability to work at whichever grade level your child is at. My children typically excel in Math and they work a year ahead especially in the elementary levels. Not being confined to just “3rd grade” Math concepts helps ensure that my children are being challenged at their individual learning levels. Diagnostic tools are available to help you place your child in the right spot if you need it to fill in learning gaps. And guess what!? They now have a complete Spanish Version of the program for native Spanish speakers.


For this review, we received an annual membership that I have been using the program as a supplement for Montana (12 years old, 6th grade), McKenzie (9 years old, 3rd grade), and Micah (4.5 years old, JrK) on average 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes a session. Memberships starts at $9.95 per month or $79. A year for single subjects, Math, LA, or Spanish. Below you can see the break down for monthly versus yearly pricing per month or per year. Each additional child is just $4.00 per month or $40.00 per year.


With IXL you get the following benefits from its program:

 ~practice that feels like play: gain a whole new appreciation for how fun learning can be! With the addition of the new IXL app you can take your practice on the go. A great feature for our family as we are in the midst of our travel season.

 ~ content for your right and left side of your brain: an abundance of questions for every learning style, students can't help but build lasting skills and confidence.

 ~ practice that keeps you within the zone: Free from gimmicks or distractions, IXL is a place where every minute is spent truly learning.

 ~ learning that sticks with you: practice environment that rewards hard work and encourages students to learn from their mistakes.

 ~ numbers that tell a story : progress reports emailed weekly (another favorite feature!) You also get an email notification when a new skill has been learned or the child hits a milestone.

 Membership benefits include:
 - Comprehensive coverage of K–12 math curriculum. Your kids won't miss a thing!
 - Interactive language arts exercises for grades 2–4.
 - Unlimited questions in over 2,000 skills.
 - Fun and colorful practice formats. - Questions that adapt to your child's ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve.
 - Immediate feedback and question-specific explanations to solidify understanding of each concept. - Audio for all pre-K to first-grade math skills.
 - Weekly e-mail updates on your child's progress.
 - Informative, detailed reports pointing out successes and trouble spots.
 - Awards and certificates for you and your children to print out as they reach important milestones. iPad app for mobile practice.


Setting up our family account was quick and easy. Just log on to the website and fill out the parent information to create a master account. Once that is done you have the opportunity to enroll each of your children. I created a profile for each of the girls and my son and they picked their favorite picture to recognize their profile. I really liked this for Micah. He knows how to read and write his first name, which begins with an "M", but I think the picture helps to reinforce that this is his special account.


As I said at the beginning McKenzie is currently working a year ahead in math, so I wanted her to focus on her grade level math for a spiral review. Our current math program is quite comprehensive in my view, so I just wanted to reinforce the skills that they already learned last year to make sure they were solid. For McKenzie this means working on those pesky math facts and multiplication facts as well.


Montana used the 6th grade program which is the perfect supplement for days when we ran out of time or just needed to be out of the house. While she is not much of a computer learner and prefers our current book programs we use, I like that this option is available for those busy days. Overall, she has made many gains with using IXL over the last few weeks.


Micah is solidly working within the Kindergarten section and doing well. He is a different type of learner than his older sisters in the sense that he enjoys computer based learning, but can’t sit still for more than 10-15 minutes. He does however amaze me that he can log into his special account and get started by himself. He loves the short periods of IXL time and I love it because he is learning and excelling.



 IXL uses the "smart score" system for its program to help with mastery of skills. Basically, the child starts by answering easy problems for the skill being learned. The more answers they get correct and their "smart score" will rise. If you miss a problem your score will decrease a little but you have the opportunity to raise it back up. 100 points on the "smart score" meter means that the skill has been mastered and your child would then earn an award. Since we have access to every level of the program offered, it has been great to have the kids practice a skill on something they are currently struggling with now.


What little kid or big kid for that matter doesn’t like stickers! An awards board is available for every level including the preschool levels  It is a sticker based incentive system! Similar to a sticker chart that is meant to motivate your child to keep practicing.  Prizes are given out for mastering certain skills which is fun and you can also get an award for the amount of time you have been practicing a certain skill or the number of questions that have been answered. The award section is all about trying to keep the children engaged and learning and quite possibly McKenzie and Micah’s favorite part. And who doesn't like stickers!


Overall, we are all thrilled with the content of IXL and what the whole program has to offer for our family. You can frequently hear my children exclaim, “I got it!” when they answer a question.

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
When you find something that works for your homeschool and children it is not hard to spend the money on it! I am so glad to have been chosen for this review and I definitely think you should check it out for yourself and see if it is a fit for your family! Be sure to read the reviews of my fellow 89 CrewMates by clicking on the banner below to see what they think.  

Immersive, Adaptive Learning Online {IXL Learning Reviews}
Company ~ IXL Learning
 Product ~ IXL annual membership 
 Format ~ online or app 
 Price ~ Memberships starts at $9.95 per month or $79. A year for single subjects, Math, LA, or Spanish
 Ages ~ Preschool through 12th grade 
 Our rating ~ 5 stars 



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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

Wednesday, February 20, 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.     

Friday, February 15, 2019

Live the Adventure with Heirloom Audio's For The Temple ~ a TOS review

Have you had the pleasure of listening to any of the audio theater productions of G.A. Henty from Heirloom Audio? We received the newest installment, For The Temple, let me tell you why we love them so! 

Having reviewed several of the other titles from Heirloom Audio we are quite familiar with the outstanding Christian audio theater they produce. My children, especially Montana, my 6th grader, love listening to these audio dramas based off the novels of G.A. Henty. 

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 as if you were actually there, you get to meet the people who shaped the event firsthand. 

“The first duty of any Jew is to protect the Temple. I will fight that battle.”

With their newest released title, For the Temple, follow John, a young Jewish man, as you are thrust into the days and events leading up to the final destruction of the Jerusalem temple by the Romans in 70 AD. John is recruited by the Jewish army to help defend the temple from Roman invaders. But to do so he must make the sacrifice and leave his fiancĂ©, mother, and the family vineyard. 

For this review we received a physical copy of 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. 


We also had access to the corresponding Study Guide, it and other resources are available when you join the Live the Adventure Club. Inside the Study Guide you will find comprehension questions in the listening well section as well as questions that are designed to make you dig a little deeper in the Thinking Further section. I liked that there are vocabulary words so that you can go over these words that may be unfamiliar to your child beforehand. The Study Guide is 51 pages set against a parchment type background and includes photos and detailed descriptions of some important historical events. 

Thoughts from Montana ~
“I really enjoy the audio CD’s from Heirloom Audio! Getting this newest CD was a real treat for me. I found the story to be interesting and exciting as I listened to the story of John and his attempts to save the temple. We just finished studying about the Romans so it was a nice tie into our history too.”


Since this is our busy travel season with gymnastics, we spend quite a few weekends out on the road. My new van does not have a CD player but it does have car play so I asked one of my more technically savvy daughters how to transfer the upload the story to my iTunes account. She even uploaded all of my other CD’s and now we get to listen to all of our Heirloom Audio dramas while we are on the road! 

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}





We love these audio theaters so much that when we missed being on the review of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, so we purchased our own copy. Adding these radio theater productions to my daughter's listening time is a win-win for us. Be sure to take a look at what my 79 CrewMates thought of For the Temple by Heirloom Audio by clicking the banner below.

For The Temple {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Company ~ Heirloom Audio

Product ~ For The Temple

Format ~ physical CD

Price ~ $29.97 plus shipping & handling

Ages ~ 6+ 





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Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial


© 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.    











Wednesday, February 13, 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.    

Wednesday, February 6, 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.