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.



Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween 2019


Trunk or Treat at Community:



Co-Op Dress up day:



Mr. Evans Farm: 






Halloween night:

 Panda Bear

 Princess Jasmine

Mr. Cheeseburger

 Pumpkins:

baseball, gymnast, and a cat


© 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, October 30, 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, October 29, 2019

Channie's: 2 Digit Multiplication and Dry Erase Sight Word Flashcards ~ a TOS review

We received two new products from Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks a few weeks ago for my two youngest children. McKenzie, my 4th grader, has been working her way through the One Page A Day 2 Digit Multiplication Practice book while my youngest, Micah, who is 5, has been using Channie’s Dry Erase Flashcard for Sight Words with is reading program.


McKenzie still loves math since our last time using Channie’s but because it is starting to get difficult she is not so chipper about doing her multiplication facts everyday. To get out of the rut of everyday facts practice, these visual math worksheets came at just the right time.


My younger children, 7th grade and below, still school just 4-days a week. Using the Page A Day 2 Digit Multiplication book with McKenzie was easy. I ended up spiral binding our book because when it arrived the original binding had fallen off and the pages were loose. I quickly ran the pages through our binding machine along the left edge. After thinking of it, I should have bound it at the top because the pages flip from top to bottom instead of left to right like a book. McKenzie didn’t seem to mind it though. We just flip the page over to complete the work 4 days a week as part of her math warmups.



I love color-coded everything, so I am a big fan of the color-coding of the ones vs. tens place in this book. Each page has twenty-five 2-digit multiplication facts problems that start off easy and then gradually increase in difficulty. McKenzie still writes rather big, the the boxes are just the perfect size for her writing. Visually, having the columns lined up makes it just a bit easier to see where the numbers go. I wish I had this when I was learning my double and triple digit multiplication!


My Micah man is just starting to read, yay! The Dry Erase Flashcards in this set contain the first 100 sight words that are traceable. From what I can tell these are the first 100 Fry’s sight words for Kindergarteners and First graders.



We typically learn Dolch Pre-Primer and Primer sight words during Kindergarten so some of the words were difficult for Micah only because he didn’t recognize or know them. For these words we just concentrated on writing the letters and not so much reading the word. For the Fry words that overlap with Dolch the expectation was that he would read and write the word.


I love that the cards are sturdy and heavy duty to take the daily beating of a young reader. The blocks helped Micah learn to keep his letters straight and in the proper alignment as he learns to write words. It also helps him with spacing of his letters. Again visually being able to see this with the color-coding is a big plus in my book!

Alphabet, Number & Sight Word Dry Erase, Neat Numbers & Page a Day 2 Didgit Multiplication. {Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks Reviews}

We have enjoyed using both of these products over the last few weeks. They both will be continued to be used throughout the school year. But don’t just take my word for it about these fabulous products. Click on the banner below and see what my CrewMates used these products and the other two products, Channie's Dry Erase Flashcard For Alphabet & Number and Neat Numbers in their homeschools.

Alphabet, Number & Sight Word Dry Erase, Neat Numbers & Page a Day 2 Didgit Multiplication. {Channie's Visual Handwriting & Math workbooks Reviews}



 Price ~ Flashcards: $16.95, One Page A Day: $12.95 {consumable}

 Ages ~ Flashcards: 5-6 years old, One Page A Day: 3rd-5th grade

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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.  

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Smartick: online math that your kids will want to do! ~ a TOS review

Morning friends! We have finally settled into a nice rhythm in our homeschool and we are plugging along with daily lessons and getting things done. I am so excited to tell you about our review of Smartick today! Every once in a while we get on a review that just blows my mind! This is one of them.

Being on the Homeschool Review Crew this year has been a blessing. We have used programs, like this one, that I never knew existed until they showed up on the Upcoming Vendors list. Our family received a six month online Smartick subscription. I chose McKenzie, my 4th grader, to be the reviewer.


Just what is Smartick? Well, it is a comprehensive math practice that combines math, reading comprehension, logic, and reasoning to improve mathematical skills. Developed for children aged 4-14 the program helps build mathematical self-confidence. The program only requires 15 minutes of your time and it is recommended the student work 4-5 times a week. While progressing through the curriculum the artificial intelligent tutor adapts to your students math abilities as they progress through the program. Since it is not age or grade based students can progress through the program to develop their individual strengths in math.


To begin is super easy! I set up an account for McKenzie and then she took a short assessment for the program to determine where to start her. There are 10 sections that the Smartick program works through, but the order is determined by the AI tutor offering the right amount of challenge each day. As the student progresses through the program, the child is able to earn “ticks” which can be used as tokens within the Smartick world of play. Ticks can purchase virtual pets, clothing for your avatar, furniture for your virtual home and more.






***If I had known we could have had more than one user from the start of the review, I would have signed my son, Micah who is in Kindergarten, up for his own profile as I think he would benefit as well. As of the writing of this review (10/24), I have added him to my student list and he is a happy boy!







To keep the student motivated to learn, diplomas are offered as your student makes their way through the math program. McKenzie earned one diploma so far, the Pythagoras diploma for successful completion of “Rookie Mathemagician of the House of Pythagoras”. She was so excited when she earned her first diploma! Other diplomas to be earned feature names of other famous mathematicians like Newton, Galileo and Gauss.


There is also a feature that allows the Parent Tutor to come up with their own reward. For example you could say, “ if you do 8 sessions by the end of October, you will earn a trip to the Dollar Store”. You can determine your own goals for your children if you want. McKenzie doesn’t need this type of motivation to complete her Smartick each day, the diploma, ticks, and virtual play time within the app are sufficient enough for her.


A good internet connection is needed to play Smartick. McKenzie completed all her lessons on the Smartick App on my iPad mini. She typically completed her lessons while we were on the go and in the van traveling to or from Physical Therapy for her older sister or to the gym for training. I really like that this program is portable with the App feature. I also love that I get a detailed report of how her session went as soon as she finishes it.


When she received a report that was “Satisfactory” or below, I was able to quickly log in to the parent section and see exactly what she had trouble with that day. Several times she has received an outstanding reports and these emails also help me to know she is grasping the material taught in the lesson. You’ll also get an email if your Smartick session was missed for the day. I will say we only had one time when the iPad would not connect to our vans internet (smart van problem, not Smarticks) and McKenzie was not a happy camper as she looks forward to her Smartick time.


Smartick also has a games section where your student can play arcade like games such as Simon, Memory, Tic Tac Toe and more. Games focus on memory, reasoning, flexibility, and attention span. McKenzie has not spent too much time within this section, only because she likes to play with her virtual avatar. But for any game loving child this section is a goldmine.


I have to be honest here and say that Smartick is an AWESOME online math program! We have used and reviewed many programs over the course our 11 years of homeschooling and Smartick takes the cake! It is comprehensive and fun! I never hear any complaints from McKenzie or Micah and it is one of the first things they ask to complete each day. I have seen great improvements in McKenzie’s math ability, especially in her math facts. Who knew a 10 year old would be so excited to be learning division problems!

Math Enrichment Program {Smartick Reviews}


This is one program that I will continue to use for the remainder of the school year for both of my younger children. I am already earmarking funds for next school year to include a Smartick subscription because I feel like this program is an investment well spent! But don’t just take my word for it, see what 43 of my CrewMates had to say about the Smartick program by clicking on the banner below.

Math Enrichment Program {Smartick Reviews}

Company ~ Smartick
 Format ~ online math program
 Price ~ varies per plan, see above
 Ages ~ 4-14 years old



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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, October 23, 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, October 18, 2019

WorthyKids Books ~ The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls Books 5 & 6 ~ a TOS review

Happy Friday friends!


You know I love sharing great books with you and today is no different. Today I have another great set of books from the WorthyKids Books. We have read the first 4 books and now I am excited to share with you the two newest books that McKenzie has been reading from the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) and Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Lion's Roar (Book 6).


As before, 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. McKenzie just turned 10 and she is in the 4th grade, but she still loves to read this series. 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.


In book 5, The Shepherd’s Stone, we find our favorite main characters, siblings Peter and Mary,along with their trusty dog Hank, thrust back into the excited adventure in Bethlehem as they seek to discover the ancient scrolls. In this book we hear the familiar story of David, a young shepherd boy. Along the way we witness the epic fight between David and Goliath. All the while they are still trying to avoid their old enemy, the Solider of Darkness.


Book six, The Lion’s Roar, continues the exciting story as the siblings travel through the city of Babylon as they battle the dangerous High Priest who is secretly plotting to push Daniel out of his position of power. As the trio meet Daniel and his lion’s den and race chariots, they still have the Solider of Darkness to contend with.


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. Even though is is above the reading level these are great books that give us an important look back in history. McKenzie enjoyed reading these books silently and also read aloud to her younger brother.



Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) & The Lion's Roar (Book 6) {WorthyKids Books Reviews}
We also can’t wait for the next installment, Book 7 to be released! Oftentimes, finding good quality literature is hard to do, but this series from M.J. Thomas has us excited to read more! These books have earned a coveted spot on our bookshelf! I can’t wait for Micah to be old enough to read these exciting books in a few years as well.


 And guess what! You can enter to win signed copies of the entire 7 book series below!


WorthyKids Books is giving away THREE readers the chance to win the entire series of the Hidden Scrolls. For your chance to win to to: Win Books 1-7 of The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls to enter. And don’t just take my word for it, be sure to see what my CrewMates thought of these two books by clicking the banner below.

Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Shepherd's Stone (Book 5) & The Lion's Roar (Book 6) {WorthyKids Books Reviews}

Company ~ 
WorthyKids Books

Product ~ The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, book 5 & 6

 Ages ~ 6-9, 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.