Learning to Study with Victus Study Skills System – A Homeschool Crew Review

Learning how to study is an important skill for children to have, but just how do you help them learn how to study? We had the chance to get our hands on the Vitcus Study Skills System. After spending some time in the various books, all three of the older kids have learned more about the best way for them to study.

The first time we used this program, there was only one level. That level is the current Level 3. We loved using this and I was excited to see that they had added new levels to their already wonderful program. There are now 4 levels, from Level 1 (K-2/3) up to Level 4 (10/11 – college).

Moe Man was the one who had used Level 3 before. This is geared towards the middle school ages (5th – 10th-grade levels). One of the new levels is the college level (Level 4). I had Moe Man use this one this time. While he is not certain about what he is going to do after high school, this gave him good skills to have. I really liked that this book talks about the skills you need in college that are different from high school. The appendix is filled with a lot of great resources to enforce the lessons and really made Moe Man think more on the college level.

Another fun level is Level 2 (Grades 2/3 – 4/5). I picked Ray Ray to work on this one. He really loved learning about his learning styles. This was something that we had not talked about before. The same day that we started using this, Ray Ray was busy putting it to the test with his other work. We found less stress and more enjoyment out of school! I knew how to present things to him, and he knew how to do them for himself as well.

My biggest excitement came with Level 1 (Grades K- 2/3). This is the smallest book of them all, but it was just the right information for the younger ages! Little Miss was thrilled to be working on these short lessons, and while they are shorter than the other books, she grasped a lot of what they were getting across.

All of the books, except Level 1 have 10 simple lessons to go through. Level 1 only has 6 lessons, but it is for a younger crowd, so this makes sense. It is recommended to do to the 10 lessons over 5 days. We decided for Ray Ray and Moe Man to do one lesson a day for 10 days. This meant, instead of one hour a day, we would spend about 30 minutes a day working on this, which matched our current school style of short lessons.

There is a teacher book that you can get that goes for all the lessons, Level 1 and 2 come with a supplement to the teacher book that helps you tailor the lessons to the age of the child. Ray Ray loved being able to play games that brought the lesson to life for him.

But, back to Little Miss and the fun new Level 1 books! At the younger age, you are not really focusing a lot on actually studying versus getting the idea of studying. These 6 lessons are a little different from the rest. They are only about a page long. The pages do not have distractions on them, and they are straight to the point. There is more teaching to talk about and the short page to enforce what you tell them. These lessons talk about how they study, how they learn best, goals (the longest lesson, but the most important in my opinion), time management, skills on reading, and listening.

I loved that the goals lesson is the longest. Teaching younger children what goals are and how to achieve them will set them up for greater success in the future. They are taught about goals, by examples of things in their everyday life, not just school. After learning about goals in life, they are brought back to school and making goals for their classes.

I really enjoy the Victus Study Skills System. I was happy with it in the past and am thrilled with the new additions!

I am not the only one who used this program, click below to check out what the other reviewers thought of this!

K through College Study Skills {Victus Study Skills System Reviews}
 

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Crew Disclaimer

Starfall Education Foundation – A Homeschool Crew Review

This is a review post. I received this item in exchange for my honest review. Below you will find just that, my honest review.

Sometimes you need a break from your homeschool lessons. Just sometimes you need to have fun But what if you could make learning fun and trick your child into doing extra lessons? That is what happened when we were given a one-year subscription to The Starfall Home Membership from Starfall Education Foundation.

Starfall has been a part of my homeschool since the first day that I started homeschooling. Then, it was only Ray Ray using it. Now, Ray Ray still loves to use it as well as Little Miss and even Baby Girl. Starfall has become our go to when the day gets to be too long, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

What Is It

Starfall is an online product. You need to have internet access to use this program. This program covers many things from reading to math and ranges from Pre-K to 1st and even 2nd grade. There are also apps that you can download to bring the fun of learning with you on the go.

Starfall’s website is full of everything that you can imagine. They take the learning to a fun level that allows the kids to play games, watch videos or read books while learning reading and math. This is great for the beginning learners as well as those days when you just need something to do that isn’t the same thing.

Now, one thing that I haven’t noticed before, but just recently found was the Parent/Teacher Center. This section of Starfall is FULL of extras to help you as the parent and teacher to take the learning that you have been doing on the computer, off the computer. There are guides for you to see what your child can learn in each section, what apps help teach certain things, and what some of the extra resources are that you can purchase.

Not only does this section give you the guides, but it gives you printables! Yes, printables. These range from practicing your alphabet, printable books to read, journal writing, and even grammar worksheets. And that is just the ELA downloads. Math is not as much, but there are still some great worksheets to help practice what the kids are learning.

How We Used It

This is one of those programs that I let the kids go wild on. I don’t have to worry about links to outside sources, and even to get into the Parent section, you have to be able to answer a question. This means that when they are on this website, they are safe and learning. Yes, they could click in the address bar and go somewhere else, but this is very uncommon with my crew.

Playing their favorite symmetry game.

When it is time to get ready for school, or if I have to help the bigger kids with something, Little Miss will be able to go to Starfall and play around. I say it this way because she really doesn’t think of this as school. She feels that I am letting her have some extra game time.

As Little Miss progressed through her “play,” I would look at the different printable downloads and see which she was ready for. She is a reluctant reader like her brother was at her age. But as I watched her figuring out words and sounds, I loved being able to print books that matched her reading level, and these books went along with what she was learning on Starfall.

I did not set up a do this or do that schedule for her on this site. I figured the more fun it was, the more she would use it without arguing me. This meant that she was learning and having fun at the same time, and she wasn’t arguing with me over getting some lessons done. I did have to remind her that she couldn’t just sit there and customize her character the entire time, but she had no issue with moving on from there.

What We Thought of It

We have loved Starfall Education Foundation for the last five years. We have paid for this yearly subscription and have never thought twice. There is a lot of great activities that keep the kids interested. There is no need to worry about your child’s interest. They will love it! There is something for everyone within this program. They can work online, or they can take the download printables that are offered and do more offline. This is something that I love about Starfall, you can do online and proceed to take it offline when your child has had enough screen time.

I have never had an argument about using this program. From Ray Ray when he was at this stage, to Baby Girl as she is getting into it, all three of my little ones love to get on Starfall and play. I will let them do this because I know that when they are having fun, they are also learning1 This is a program that we will use for many years to come. It will always be a part of the first years of homeschooling for them.

There are 60 reviews total for this program. Check out all the other reviews right here:

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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Crew Disclaimer

Smokey Mountains ~ Here We Come! A Schoolhouse Crew Review

"Studies have found that 19 out of 20 Christian parents don't TALK to their children about God and spiritual matters." Jeff Meyers, Summit Ministries. I have decided early on that I don't want to be one of these 19 parents. I have made it a goal to talk with my children about God and how he plays a role in our lives. To help me with that, I have found By The Way Book Series and the book Smoky Mountains ~ Here We Come!

We went on a journey with Lexi, Alex and their Uncle Ted into the Smokey Mountains in Book Two of the By the Way Series. Other books in the series include:

As we began our journey, we saw 10 photos that we were to be on the lookout for as we read the book. Some of these were simple and easy to find, others took even mom awhile to find them! This was such a fun way to keep the kids interested in the book!

As we sat down to read, we were delighted to find that this book was easy to read, very informational and very fun! The pictures on the pages consisted of a mixture of cartoons and real life pictures. Each of these pictures and the words we were reading were full of wonderful, understandable detail that made us feel like we were right there with them! The best part, I was able to pull out a map, and we were able to track our journey as we traveled the Smokey Mountains with Lexi, Alex and Uncle Ted.

Mixed in among the reading, we found some super fun "Did You Know?" fun facts. Each of these gave us just enough information to make us understand what we are learning about. These were not boring information traps, but rather interesting facts that led to conversations about the topic at hand, whether it was about skunks, the trails we were traveling or the storms within the Smokey Mountains. It was just enough to pique our interest and allowed us to build on these facts as we saw fit.

Each page of our journey not only consisted of facts about the Smokey Mountains, but also included Scripture and facts about God and his great creation. I found it very fun and encouraging to see the Bible as much a part of this journey as the animals and environment around us. Whether it was verse or just Uncle Ted comparing the park rules to scripture and relating how scripture and God's handiwork was all around us.

This adventure into the Smokey Mountains taught us a lot. Not only did we learn about the mountains, their history and the creatures currently living there, but we saw God and his miracles all around us as we went. The kids loved finding the pictures while we were reading, but I loved hearing them talk about the Smokey Mountains and God as the day went on. Watching them notice the goodness of the Lord around us in our everyday journey was enough for me. Seeing that they could find the Smokey Mountains on the map and relate the facts they learned to others who had not read the book was a bonus to me. This is a book collection that all Christian families and Christian based schools should have on their shelves, in my personal opinion.

You can check out By The Way Books on Facebook right here!

Want to know more about the other books in this series? Check out the other reviews from members of the Homeschool Review Crew right here:


Nature Books With A Biblical Worldview {By the Way Book Series Reviews}


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Crew Disclaimer

December 4, 2016 ~ Homeschool Highlights

Wow, is it really December? I can not even think about where this time has gone. Here I am planning our Christmas vacation, yet I remember the first day of our new school year. I feel that we are speeding through yet another year, and I am not ready for this to happen! Yet there is nothing that I can do about this other than keeping moving.

homeschool-highlights

This last month we have been so busy having fun with the learning that we are busy doing. Everyone has had something fun that they were doing. Between the lessons, the experiments and the games, we have something always happening. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

High School

Moe Man is busy with his sophomore year of school. I am still having a tough time with that one. We have fallen in love with Easy Peasy All in one High School as I have told you before. We really have not strayed much from this curriculum. We may tweak a few assignments to fit his style, but we are working hard at keeping this working. He is loving his Biology class on Easy Peasy and the hands-on experiments that we are able to do for our lab section.

High School Experiments

We are using the World History curriculum from CHSH and love this. I love the simple aspect of this, yet the add on ideas that are a part of the teacher's guide take the learning a little further, which is just what we need to keep this interesting for him.

We have also started a simple Semester long Geology course, Fossils, Dinosaurs and Cave Men from Patrick Nurre. This is such a fun geology course that includes fossils, yes, real fossils to make this a hands-on course that we will be having fun with for a long time!

Second Grade

Ray Ray, oh Ray Ray. Yes, this is a phrase that I say almost daily! This kid…he has taken a lot of his learning into his own hands and really doesn't like me hovering. I still do, but from a little bit of distance. Ray Ray has been using the second level of Easy Peasy All in one Homeschool. He loves how independent this curriculum is for him. He logs on, does his work and walks away. Yes, just like that. Some days I wonder if this is enough, but with him, this is plenty!

Brain Cap

The lessons are great and includes worksheets when needed, copying work into notebooks and making fun projects, like his brain hat. These are great ways to keep him interested! The reading that he is working on, we have found on LibroVox and this means that he can follow along instead of being bored with just reading. Not only that, but he is officially working on some Keyboarding skills! Yes, all of this is free with Easy Peasy All in on Homeschool!

Keyboarding Lessons

Kindergarten

Little Miss is my overachiever. She wants to do it all. She wants worksheets, one on one with mom and she wants to read, now! We started with Easy Peasy, but found this was too slow for her at the younger levels. Yet, when I tried to jump her forward, it was too much. I had to step back and look at some other options.

I found Reading the Alphabet from This Reading Mama. This is something we tried years ago with Ray Ray, and it was too much for him, yet this is perfect with Little Miss. Right here is the perfect example of how each child is a different style of learner. Little Miss loves everything that Ray Ray couldn't handle with Reading the Alphabet. She loves that she is reading right away, she loves the worksheets and the hands-on approach, while still being able to work on the computer with the Starfall program.

Reading the Alphabet

So, this is where we are at, each child is learning with the style that works for them and Baby Girl is following everyone trying to keep up. I have a feeling she is going to be my biggest challenge in the years to come.

While we are happy where we are right now, we are looking in the future and I have a few plans to change a few things shortly. Not to mention that, but we also have a new year with the Homeschool Review Crew that will be starting soon. This means new products and new learning! I look forward to sharing all of that with you in the months to come! I hope you will keep following along and see where this homeschooling journey takes us!


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Homeschool Highlights ~ November 11, 2016

Cyber Weekend Membership Sale

Wow, are we really in November already? Just the thought of this has had me at a loss of words that last few days. I was not ready to vote, but as the same time I was ready for those silly ads to be over. Boy what a nail-biting election day/into the next morning. I of course decided to stay up as late as I could, the kids, they got an extra hour awake while watching, but they were tired and momma was not happy with the tired attitudes.

What else have we been doing? Well, not too much. Ha! No, we have been busy, but it is nothing to crazy to brag about. We have kept busy with our daily studies with Easy Peasy. Yes, our main curriculum has been using Easy Peasy for our studies. From everyone from Little Miss in Kindergarten Ray Ray in 2nd and Moe Man in 10th grade. We love this all in one set up, but we have of course added things as we wanted to!

Homeschool Highlights November 2016

This last month we had some fun learning about Pirates and Privateers. The kid loved this and looked forward to Fridays for these fun special learning days! Ray Ray and Little Miss continue to work on their Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting skills. They both love doing this and I love that they love something!

Little Miss is starting in on her Reading skills within Easy Peasy. I love the way they have this set up, and with all her Phonics work that she has been working on in the past has helped her out. She is running around with the Kindle showing everyone who will listen that she can read now! We love seeing her so excited and this is helping her focus more now that she is seeing words and not just letters on the page.

Ray Ray is a busy boy, only he enjoys staying busy with the latest craze. This for him has been a combo of Legos and Pokemon. I finally caved and let him download the PokemonGo app. There are a lot of rules that have come with this app. #1, he is only allowed to play when he is with mom or dad. We want to know what he is doing and where he is going. #2, all his school work must be done, and it must be done correctly. No, not perfect, but not rushed so that it is done. While I do not care for the game, I am happy to see him happy and he gets alone time with daddy while they go around town after supper.

Homeschool Highlights

Moe Man has been working hard at his lessons. He started Spanish lessons using Monarch Spanish I and loves it! I am getting my refresher when he asks me for some help. He has been having fun with some great experiments in his Biology course. I love this one from Easy Peasy High School. Everything is right there for us and the experiments are simple enough that we can use household items for the most of them. This makes his learning fun and hands on while being easy on mom!

Homeschool Highlights

Baby Girl, well, she is just keeping herself busy copying the big kids. She loves to color, but the trick to this, she loves to color on words! I have spent countless hours cleaning the books she sneaks to color in. I am finding the cheap activity books for her versus coloring books and all my scrap paper that has writing on it goes to her. She just loves the letters and I hope this is a good sign. Another thing she loves to do is play an Elmo app on the iPad. This app has her sorting objects like a pro. She sees the iPad and knows how to use it to get to her app without help!

Our week has been busy. But every week is busy. We are finishing this week up with a quick trip to Costco with grandma. We need to stock up on some household items and this is the place that helps us out! What is your favorite thing to grab from Costco? How has your week been? Let me know in the comments below!

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I am linking up over at Homeschool Coffee Break with the Homeschool Highlights Link Up! Check out these other great posts from the week!!

Homeschool Coffee Break

Educeri Ready to Teach Lessons ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

When homeschooling, you find a time when you need to supplement your child's learning. This can happen either when they are struggling, or when they want to expand on what they are currently learning. When you have 3, almost 4 kids who are homeschooling, you look for an option that can cover more than one grade and more than one subject to help keep your expenses down. But where do you find something that fits this? We had the chance to review Educeri …….  Educeri a division of DataWORKS and their Educeri Lesson Subscription Service.

Educeri Homeschool Crew Review

What Is It

Educeri Lesson Subscription Service is a magical site that provides our homeschool with over 1,000 lesson plans for you to access. With all of these lesson plans, you cover all grades Kindergarten up to 12th grade in subjects like Math, Science, Language Arts, History, even Art. PE and Music.


Educeri Lesson Subscription Service Reviews

Each one of the lessons is presented in a PowerPoint format. There are student handouts that go with the lessons for your child to fill out while learning, or after you are done presenting the lesson.

How We Used It

I was excited to check out the Lesson Subscription Service. I looked forward to having help with my lesson planning and finding supplements for my children. I spent time looking over everything that was available and checking to see what we could use. I was able to find a lot of the core subjects, especially for the lower grades. This was nice for Ray Ray and Little Miss, but I was hoping for more for Moe Man and his high school subjects, especially the extra electives.

Educeri Kindergarten Options

I found at least one lesson for each one of the children, while it was easy for the little two, I spent some time with looking for Moe Man. I added these into the current curriculum that we were using. I had to set time aside to work with each child, as the lessons required me to help out with the teaching instead of allowing them to self-teach.

Once I had all the small details worked out, I was able to actually teach the lessons. For Moe Man, I spent more time searching. There were limited lessons for this age and these subjects. I was able to find a language arts lesson that we needed to brush up on, so we sat down with Determine a Central Idea and Analyze. This lesson had the PowerPoint for me to teach and an additional Student Handout to have him work on.

I went over the idea with Moe Man in the lesson. I made sure that he understood what we were talking about, and we were able to work on the handout as we worked on the lesson. I actually felt like I was sitting at the front of a classroom teaching this to a room full of students. The lesson gave me everything that I needed to feel this confident, even if it was just one student instead of a full classroom.

I did this same thing with Ray Ray and Little Miss. Once again, teaching the lesson and working with them on their handouts so they would be able to practice what they were learning.

2nd Grade Language Arts

What We Thought

While I was hoping for a lot more independent learning with this program, I actually found myself spending more time teaching it. Yes, it was less planning time as I was able to open and go, but I had to be there teaching it. This is tough when it comes to a homeschool mom of more than one child. I loved the lesson plan options for the lower grades as there was so many, but when I needed something for Moe Man, it was hard.

The kids showed improvement when using these lessons. We enjoyed the break from our normal curriculum and loved the way this was set up. It was easy to teach from and easy for the kids to pick up on.

We were not the only family to check out Educeri and their Lesson Subscription Service. Want to hear some other reviews? Check them out right here!


Educeri Lesson Subscription Service


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Crew Disclaimer

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting ~ A Homeschool Review

Reading and handwriting, those two things are essential in my mind to the education of our children. If they cannot read or write, they will not get far in life. Even in today's society of technology, the basic skills are still necessary. We had the chance to take a look at Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting from Everyday Education, LLC as a part of this review.

Perfect Reading

We received the digital copy of the Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting book and used it with Ray Ray and Little Miss. Both of the kids are at different levels when it comes to reading and writing. Little Miss is still new to all of it, while Ray Ray knows how to read and write, yet has some frustrations when it comes to writing. I figured he would benefit from this just as much as Little Miss and actually want to have Moe Man work on the handwriting part of this as well to help him improve his handwriting skills.

Janice Campbell found Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting when she first started homeschooling and fell in love with the simple, clear penmanship that she found within the pages. Little did she know, when she went to look for again for her second child that it was out of print. After trying a few different things, she wanted to go back to this and worked hard to bring it back into print for us to use now!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}

Janice starts off letting us know about the simple lesson plans. They each include reviewing the previous lessons, introducing the new concepts, working on tracing and copying what was taught, practicing the sounds (phonics) or reading that was talked about and finishing up the lesson with some copywork.

We first find a section just for the parents to help us understand what we will be teaching our children. We learn about Posture and Pen Holding, Spacing, Slant, Rhythm and Size and Different Scheduling Options which are based upon the child who will be using this. We also learn that there are four different ways to use this book. You can use it for teaching the young child to read and write, help teach the struggling readers read better, teach your child fast, legible handwriting or teach yourself beautiful handwriting.

After this simple introduction, we start the first chapter, still for the parents to go over. This first chapter talks about the reading and writing that will be taught. This program works with phonics versus the sight reading that is taught in many of the public schools. Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting aims its reading skills at ages 4-6 years old. This is the best age to start the reading lessons. It is believed that if you teach the reading skills at this age, they will be bored less and turn to TV and video games less versus the books that are readily available to them.

Beautiful Handwriting

Handwriting is taught with Italics in mind. The typical handwriting that is taught only has six letters that can formed in one stroke versus the twenty-two letters formed in one stroke with the Italic style. This encourages the child to write instead of discouraging them with the perfect forms that are required in the other style. The kids really enjoyed this way of writing. Ray Ray didn't even fight that he had to sit down and spend time writing, he actually enjoyed seeing that he could write!

I loved reading the teaching tips that were included in the beginning of this book. These tips were simple, but a great reminder to the busy homeschool mom or new homeschool mom. The one that really stuck out to me was to make sure that you don't expect your child's writing to be the same as the model. I made sure to have Ray Ray read this for himself as he is always trying to have the perfect writing and the frustration follows when he can't do that.

We simply started with the alphabet when it came to the writing and reading. The very basics of each. I would have both kids sit down together and work on the tracing and writing together. This was nice because I didn't have to spend extra time between the two children and combined the lessons. While Ray Ray knows how to write and Little Miss is just starting, this program allowed them to work together to improve or learn the skills they need.

While Ray Ray knows the basics of phonics for reading, I had him sitting with while Little Miss worked on her skills. I would have him working on the copywork for the section. This way I was able to include him if there was a section that he just didn't understand when it came to reading. He was able to improve on some of the simple phonics that I was trying to work with him on just by sitting by and listening to his sister.

It is safe to say that all three of us were happy with this product. We loved the simplicity of it. I loved that is was a print and go with the digital version and I didn't have to plan for hours on end. The beginning pages that were for me to read answered any and all of my questions that I may have had on the program and I was able to jump right in on Monday morning.

Little Miss loved using this with Ray Ray. She felt older knowing that he was doing the same thing. I noticed that she spent time working on her reading and writing and found her practicing it in her locked diary. She would also start sounding out the words that we were speaking and in some of the easy reader books right away. She loved this new independence and loved watching her bloom.

PRBH

Ray Ray has always fought me when it came to writing. The fine motor skills he needed for this task just didn't seem to show up right away. Once he did start writing, it was sloppy. I would try to correct and he would be upset. When we started in on the writing here, he loved it. He loved the style. How simple it was and the one stroke letters helped him! Being able to flow with his writing, made him proud and when he was proud, he continued! I loved seeing this happen and knowing that his writing was slowly improving!

We thoroughly enjoyed using Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting. I loved all aspects of it and plan to continue to use this as a reading and handwriting program in the years to come!

Everyday Education, LLC has this and other programs available to you. Check out what these other Crew families had the chance to look at!


Beautiful Handwriting, Literature and Poetry {Everyday Education, LLC}


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Crew Disclaimer

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Reading, it is the most important part of a child's education, at least in my personal opinion. I love making sure that my children have a good base in their reading skills, but sometimes I need some help. I was happy when we got to try the Ultimate Phonics Reading Program from Spencer Learning.

spencer-learning

The Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is a program that you download on your computer and use. There are over 200 lessons available on this download and will work with many ages, we used it for Little Miss (K) and Ray Ray (2nd).

Each lessons contains different sections. You will start with the Idea/Pattern. This is simply an introduction to the lesson, what you will be focusing on and learning. The next step is the Word List. This list will show you and your child the words that they will be working on learning to read during the lesson. Following this is the words themselves. Your child will be working on reading the words, one phonic/phonic set at a time. There is no time, so they can repeat this as much as they need to until they get it on their own. Finally, they see the words in sentences. The word is in sentences that include other words that have been learned already.

Practice Words

While my main focus with this program was to work with Ray Ray on his phonics, we also had Little Miss using this about once or twice a week. Ray Ray was busy using this about four days a week as a part of his current reading program. It took a few tries to find the right lesson to start on, but once we got there, we kept going. Every day, Ray Ray would sit down and work on the lesson for the day. I would make sure that he spent time on the phonics that he may not have understood, and watched him excel.

Word Bank

Reading is not something that Ray Ray loves to do…for school. So, I would make sure to sit with him during these lessons. I would make sure that he was actually trying to sound out the phonics before skipping ahead. I would only allow him to hear the words or phonics if he was having a hard time. After the first few lessons I noticed that I had to remind him less often to work on his reading and noticed that he would be working on that on his own. I was happy to see this, especially from him!

Little Miss loves anything school, so since we were able to switch easily between the two kids, I let her "play" on here. While I didn't force her to do as much as Ray Ray, I wanted to let her get some solid foundations set up when it came to reading. She didn't need me to sit by her, and had fun copying the spoken words. This made it fun for me to listen to while I was busy making lunch, or supper.

Words

The Ultimate Phonics Reading Program is not like most computer based programs you see on the market today. This is the bare minimum when it comes to extras. Their focus is on reading and not on the colors, sounds or graphics. They want to teach your kids how to read and not distract them with all the fun stuff. This worked great for Ray Ray, who is easily distracted by the simple colors or graphics on the screen. This made him focus on his reading and not on the "game".

Sentences

This program has been just what I was looking for with Ray Ray. He is the child who taught himself how to read, yet there were some things that he didn't pick up on. While he loves to read his books, when it comes to school, he does not like to read at all. I had tried everything that I could think of. When I started him on Ultimate Phonics, I was just hoping to get him into reading a little better, I never thought that I would see him excel as he has.

Ray Ray loves graphics, in fact, he is the child who I limit the games with the most because of his love of graphics. Even school games. When I saw that Ultimate Phonics had the sounds of the phonics and words, but absolutely no extra graphics, I was pleased. This was not the same with Ray Ray, as he wanted to play "games" for school. After seeing what he was capable of, I didn't care about his arguments for a game, I was happy to see him reading bigger words and reading them correctly.

Super easy to jump from one lesson to the next.
Super easy to jump from one lesson to the next.

If you want to give your kids a solid foundation in their reading skills, if you want to let them learn without the extras, if you want to help a struggling reader advance, I suggest that you head over and check out the free sample of this program. You don't have to take my word for it if you don't want to. Try it for yourself and see what I am talking about. If you still have doubts after that, check out the reviews of these other families that took the time to use this program in their homeschool by clicking below!


Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

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Crew Disclaimer

Getting Started With French ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Learning a new language can be a daunting task. What if I told you that you could find a program that works great for homeschoolers or self-taught students of any age? Would you want to know more? Well let me tell you about Armfield Academic Press and their Getting Started With French program!

Homeschool Crew Review

What Is It

Getting Started With French is a soft covered book with 172 simple lessons. This book is designed to be self-contained and easy to be self-taught. The purchase of this book, gives you everything that you need to teach yourself, or your child how to speak French. You don't need to buy anything else, the MP3s of the pronunciations are included as a download with this book.

While there are 172 lessons and you could do one each day, this is meant to be slef-paced. If you need more time on one lesson, spend more time lesson, go for it!

At the beginning of this book, you will find a How To Use This Book section. This part of the book tells you all about the rest of the book. Each lesson will start with a new word or words that will be in bold writing. You will find this word along with the definition of this word. You will also learn how to pronounce this word. While this will be written, you will be able to hear it in the MP3 download.

French

There are no real tests or quizzes when it comes to this book, however, you are able to go back a lesson or two and verbally ask yourself or your child questions on what was learned. The lessons are quick, and effective. They should take you no longer than 30 minutes a day. This is a program where more is less. Shorter, yet more frequent practice is the key here.

How We Used It

Ray Ray is my French boy. He wants to run away to France and sleep under the Eiffel Tower one day. Because of this fascination, he is open to any and every way to learn the language. Ray Ray set his schedule when it came to this curriculum. I did not want to force this, and since it is described as a self-paced program, I followed that. I would see how much he remembered from the day or two before moving forward. If he seemed to want or need more time with a lesson, I gave it to him.

While we didn't have an actual lesson schedule, we made sure that we were using this program every day during the week. I would sit down and listen to the pronunciation with Ray Ray, we would talk about the lesson together and really had fun with this! We did not just listen to the MP3s and move on, we spoke the words we were learning and talked about the lessons and what we were learning with the grammar and language rules.

French

What We Thought

Ray Ray loves French. He loves easy school. This was the best of both worlds for him. The lessons were short, and without an actual schedule, he was able to make sure he was learning. He didn't have to struggle as he went along, and loved listening to the pronunciations and author commentary on the lessons. Seeing the words in front of him and hearing them at the same time really made things click for him.

There are no frilly pictures in the book. No nonsense, just the lessons. They are written so that Ray Ray could understand them and I could understand them as well. Any age and any person would be able to understand these nice lessons. I love watching Ray Ray learn, and I love being able to learn at the same time. I love not having to dig through a bunch of curriculum each day and that I just open the book and MP3s and he basically does this on his own.

This book is re-usable. Do you know what that means? I can save money and Little Miss or Baby Girl can use this when they are ready to learn a new language. If Moe Man decided that he wants to learn French for his foreign language, he can start at any time. I don't have to buy workbooks for each child. I don't have to worry about anything extra. This is something that is key to me when it comes to finding homeschool curriculums!

We were one of 50 families to try this program out. Want to hear about the other experiences? Check out their reviews right here:


Introducing Getting Started with French {Armfield Academic Press}

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Crew Disclaimer

Apologia Creation Astronomy ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Who created the moon and the stars? Who made the universe? Who made the sun? Questions that I have heard from the kids, especially Ray Ray. I love these questions, and I love when I can find a great curriculum to help me explain all of this! We had the chance to review Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition from Apologia Educational Ministries and I can't wait to tell you all about this curriculum!

apologia-review

What Is It

Exploring Creation with Astronomy is a full science curriculum for grades Kindergarten up to 4th depending on the Notebook Journal you pick. For this review, we received the Student Text, Notebooking Journal, Jr. Notebooking Journal and Audio CD. The Notebooking Journal is geared towards 3 or 4th grade or higher. The Jr. Notebooking Journal is great for Kindergarten up to 2nd or 3rd grade.

Apologia

The beginning of each Notebooking Journal has a suggested lesson plan to follow. If you follow this and do 2 daily lessons a week, it will take you a full year to complete this curriculum. Each lesson includes a reading, an activity and/or a notebooking entry. If you have a student who doesn't like reading (like Ray Ray), the audio CD has every lesson read by the author, Jeannie Fulbright. These readings include what is in the book so your child can follow along. Ray Ray learns better by listening while reading silently in his head. This CD has been my lifesaver for this curriculum!

Each of the two Notebooking Journals are similar, but contain age appropriate activities. Both have a copy work page, in the Jr. notebook the lines are more appropriate for an early writer versus the simple single line in the regular journal. One difference that I have found, at the end of each lesson, the Jr. notebook has some coloring pages while the regular notebook has What Do You Remember pages that has some basic questions that will check your child's understanding of the lesson. These notebooking journals are spiral bound and are a great keepsake for the years to come as to what your child learned.

Apologia

The actual textbook for Exploring Creation With Astronomy is a hardcover book filled with beautiful pictures to help your child understand what is being taught. This book is not a book filled text that is boring for your child. This book is engaging and beautiful. The lessons include bible quotes and Think About This sections that have your child slow down and make the lesson real for them.

How We Used It

We decided to follow the suggested guideline to this curriculum and kept it to two lessons a week. This allowed us some time to digest what we were learning and build from it. Using this schedule, we had fun with the first two lessons in this book. The daily lessons were fun, simple and a combination of reading and notebooking. We enjoyed doing the experiments and calling in the other siblings to make some of them work. I had Ray Ray explain to the siblings what he was going to have them do and what they were representing. This made him recall what we were learning. Win-win for this mom!

We started off with Ray Ray reading each of the lessons, but quickly found out that he didn't like the reading part. He would complain about reading, and not want to do the lessons. As soon as I pulled out the audio CD he was once again draw in. He would follow along with the lesson as he listened to it being read to him by Jeannie Fulbright, the author.

Aoplogia

While following the two days a week plan, we have found that we can space these out for Ray Ray. When doing this, we could make each daily lesson last two days and have something each day to learn about or do. We would do the reading one day, followed up by the Activities or notebooking the next. This kept our lessons short and at the level that Ray Ray loves them. Even when a lesson was done in full, they were short, only lasting up to 30 minutes depending on how long Ray Ray would take doing his notebooking.

What We Thought of It

This was a program that was more than I had anticipated! I knew from hearing others that Apologia has great science programs. We have used other programs from Apologia and loved them. But this, this was all of that and so much more! The pictures in both the textbook and the notebooking journals are beautiful! They show the beauty that is astronomy! The textbook itself is so full of information, yet can easily be understood by the younger readers. The activities that are chosen are fun, hands on and full of learning!

The two levels of notebooking journals take the learning to the level of the user. The lower level has all that the younger learners need without overwhelming them, where you can take this same text and use it with the older learners and learn something new! The daily readings for both levels are the same, so this is a great option for family learning and not having to worry about more than one textbook!

Apologia

We loved the audio CD that came with this. Jeannie reads this text with so much enthusiasm that you can tell she enjoyed writing this as much as we have enjoyed learning from it. This is no boring audio with a monotone speaker. This audio has music and life to it. In fact, Ray Ray loved this audio CD so much he wanted nothing to do with the textbook and just wanted to listen to the story at hand. That is what makes this CD work for him, he thought it was a story, not school!

This is a science curriculum that I would recommend to anyone looking for creation based science. The notebooking journals are a must and if you have a student like Ray Ray, you need to grab the CD as well. You will not be disappointed with this at all. I haven't been and I had some high expectations before getting this!

Want to know more? Check out these other reviews and see what you think!


Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review

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Crew Disclaimer