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.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Classical Phonics with First Start Reading from Memoria Press ~ a TOS review

It’s Friday and time for another review! This is one of my favorite companies, so sit back and grab your favorite beverage and sweet treat. When we first started homeschooling 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 nine years ago.

I have since taught three children how to read and now it’s time for my soon to be 5 year old JrK’er, Micah. He is the next in line to become a reader with the help of Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading from Memoria Press.

Micah was so excited to get his curriculum box in the mail. We began using the phonics program the day after it arrived because he was ready to read. Because of the past success we have had with Memoria Press I too was eager to start Micah with the program.

We have been working diligently over this school year on letter recognition and sounds. The best part of this program to me, is that the child will get a boost of confidence on Lesson 8 when they read their first sentence… I am a man.

  The First Start Reading Program takes on a classical, traditional approach to teaching phonics. We received the two Teacher’s Guide and 5 Student books, A, B, C, D, & E.

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.

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 Micah and I don’t mind the repetitiveness.

Four days a week we started out our days by completing the phonics recitation. Some days Micah had a hard time with this task, especially reciting the alphabet while pointing to each letter because he just didn’t want to do it.

However, it has helped him with his letter recognition tremendously! Before starting phonics recitation he would do the normal LMNOP, instead of separating them as individual letters. Once I had him slow down he was able to say each letter. He still has trouble now and again with the “W”, not sure why but it does throw him for a loop every now and again.

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

To make it easier for Micah to spot the vowels, I choose to highlight them in his favorite color in the back of the student book. I did the “Y” in yellow, just to visually remind him that it “sometimes” can be considered a vowel. That may be too much now, but visually seeing that these six letters were special has helped Micah too.

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}
Memoria Press offers a wide assortment of homeschool material from Latin, Greek, Literature, to whole grade level sets from Junior Kindergarten through high school. We LOVE this program and I have been recommending and sharing it with friends for the past few weeks whether or not they homeschool! I will sing praises to Memoria Press to all who will listen! 

But don’t just take my word for it! Check out what my CrewMates have to say about Memoria Press and their products. You will be able to read 64 different viewpoints on Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program and the following curriculum reviewed:
Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

~ Poetry for the Grammar Stage Set.    
 ~Poetry & Short Stories: American Literature Set.   
  ~ Poetry, Prose & Drama: The Old English & Medieval Periods Set.   
   ~ Poetry & Prose Book Two: The Elizabethan to the Neoclassical Age Set.    
 ~ Poetry Book Three: The Romantic to the Victorian Age Set.   
  ~ Prima Latina: Complete set.   
  ~ Latina Christiana: Complete set.  
     ~ First Form Latin: Complete set.   
 ~ Second Form Latin: Complete set. 
     ~ Third Form Latin: Complete set.    
 ~ Fourth Form Latin + Henle I:  Complete set. 

By clicking the banner below.

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

Company ~ Memoria Press 

Product ~ Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program
Format ~ paperback books 
 Price ~ $16.95 and $42.95 
 Ages ~ K-2

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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.  

Wednesday, March 27, 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, March 22, 2019

Hands-on STEM with Tied 2 Teaching ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends! I am so excited to share an awesome hands-on STEM curriculum with you today. Since January I have been using the STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading curriculum from Tied 2 Teaching weekly with my co-op kids. Let me tell you why it has changed the way I teach this particular class.

Providing STEM activities is all the rage now, and rightly so. Giving kids the tools to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math will give them a leg up as they approach college and beyond. And who doesn’t like to use their imagination and figure out how to make things “work”!?

Tied 2 Teaching is the brainchild of homeschool dad and full-time teacher, Matthew Kelly who has been teaching full time for 7 years. Mr. Kelly believes learning should be fun and filled with joy and laughter. He and his wife also homeschool their own children where in and out of the traditional classroom he tries to create ways to incorporate math, science, and literacy instruction into daily learning. If you haven’t checked out his TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) account you are missing out!

Back in December before we went to Christmas break the Academic Coordinator approached me and asked if I would consider combining my Kindergarten Science class with the 1st-2nd grade STEM class. At first I was a bit hesitant because of the wide age span in the group but dove head first after the New Year. We were offered the STEM Activities curriculum at the end of January and it was perfect timing because what I was piecing together just was not what I envisioned for the class when I took over. I have one main aide in the class and I sought her opinion about the program and she was on board and we have been going full steam ahead since.

The STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading are a bundle of seasonal STEM Activities the reflect Mr. Kelly’s vision and passion for learning. Each the monthly hands-on challenges includes a “close reading” which ties literacy into the math, science, and engineering lesson.  And sometimes you might even find a history lesson or two in the close readings.

So you might be wondering just what kind of actives will we be doing? Below is a list of all the activities included in the bundle. You will have so much to choose from and best of all it is fun and the kids will be learning at the same time.

BONUS Building Block Challenge MEGA PACK

Pilgrim Shelter Challenge 


As you can see from the listed challenges that your kids will be busy learning for a whole year.

Many of the items you will need to create your creations can be found around the house. Things like, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, newspapers, straws, tape, and glue. Because I used this product mainly with my co-op class I had to purchase items in bulk because we range from 12-16 students on a given week. But with this kind of learning the more the merrier in my opinion!

Each assignment includes:
~ STEM design challenge with a list of suggested supplies to have on hand.
~ example photos of completed projects.
~ a link to a close reading document relevant to the topic.
~ worksheets to test comprehension and to help stimulate brainstorming.

My co-op kids, including my own son, LOVE this class time and so do I! With the K-2 age range we have, my aide and I decided we did not necessarily have the time to include the worksheet parts of the curriculum but I am glad to have it as an option for the future. We have completed six challenges from the bundle and the kids had a blast each time! Yes, we get messy and sometimes have to call in reinforcements when there are only three adults and 14 kids needing our help. The best part is that each child leaves with a huge smile on their face at the end of the class hour.

I love how this is really just an open and go curriculum with minimum preparation needed on my part. I just need to make sure I have the supplies each week and then I turn the kids loose to their creativity.

I love that each week the students are excited about class and often want to know “what are we making this week?” As soon as they walk in the classroom. Having them excited for STEM makes me excited to teach them. For the remainder of the year, my plan is to skip around a bit and hit on some of the challenges we missed earlier in the year.

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}
But don’t just take my word for it! 69 of my CrewMates also took part of this review so be sure to read their thoughts by clicking the banner below. And head over to Tied 2 Teaching on TPT and check out all the wonderful STEM activities available.

STEM Activities, Full Year of Challenges with Close Reading {Tied 2 Teaching Reviews}

Format ~ bundled PDF download  
Price ~ list price $60.00, right now on sale for $30.00  
Ages ~ upper elementary, younger elementary with help 

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Crew Disclaimer

©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.