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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If You Were Me and Lived In…Books by Carole P. Roman ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

We love stories, and stories help us learn in our homeschool. Sometimes we find the right kind of books that make us feel like we are actually in the book. These kinds of books are ones we love to have on the bookshelf for lessons, or just plain fun reading time. We are super excited to share reviews of four new books brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com. These books are:

If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1)

If You Were Me and Lived in…Renaissance Italy (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 2)

If You Were Me and Lived in…the Middle Ages (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 6)

If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West (Volume 7)

If You Were Me

These four books captured the kid's attention from the minute I showed them to them! Each of these books takes the kids into the time period and shows them what they would have been doing, what their names would have been, what their house would have been like. The kids are put in the book instead of just learning a history lesson.


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Each of these four books contain the story of the time era. At the end, they all have a glossary of the words you may or may not know. The Renaissance Italy and The American West also had a Famous People section at the end. Carole also offers some simple study questions for a select few of her books on her blog. We were able to use these with Ancient Greece, the Middle Ages and the American West. These were a great way to add even more to an already great book!

Each morning, we would work on slowly reading through the books. We started with Ancient Greece and fell in love right away. This was a great way for the boys to work on their history (each are working through this time era in their other history lessons) and Little Miss was able to get a taste of history without being overwhelmed. In fact, she loved answering the questions just as much, if not more than the boys did.

While we read about Ancient Greece, we learned of the different gods and goddesses. We learned how and why they worshipped the gods they did and the kids were surprised to learn that everyone drank wine instead of water!

If You Were Me

Ray Ray really enjoyed spending time reading If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West. He read this book numerous times on his own. He loved reading about the actual travel to the West. This personally reminded me of the Oregon Trail game, but in book form. He would talk about the book as if he had just traveled the journey and would tell me all about how I would have to cook over an open fire and how he had to help dad push the covered wagon through the mud. I loved hearing him talk as though this had happened and how much stuck with him because of this way of thinking!

If You Were Me

We loved reading these books, finding out what our names could have been, and how we would have lived. Little Miss loved the pictures in If You Were Me and Lived in…Renaissance Italy and we spent some time learning about the different social classes in the Middle Ages. If you are looking for some great living history books for your house, you need to check out the If You Were Me series. There are more than just four of these books, so make sure to head on over and check out the reviews from the other crew families to find the other books!


If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}


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The Cat of Bubastes ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

Are you ready to go back in time to Ancient Egypt? Are you ready to join in the adventure, the mystery, the suspense? Are you ready to follow along with Amuba and Jethro as they are captured by Egyptians and enslaved? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to check out The Cat of Bubastes from Heirloom Audio Productions.

The Cat of Bubastes

For this review, we were blessed to have received a physical copy of the two CDs and access to the bonus items. These bonus items included, Study Guide, a soundtrack, an mp3 of the audio drama, an ebook, a behind-the-scenes video, a couple of posters, and more. With all of this, we were set to start off on our adventure!

We used this package deal as a part of our history lessons. We have always loved the audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions, and while they don't always align with our history time period, we got lucky this time around.

The Cat of Bubastes

Mom started off this time by reading through the study guide. I wanted an idea of what we would be learning instead of us just jumping in to the listening part of the fun! I love the study guides that are available, and love being able to use them to make this a true history lesson. Each section of questions contains three different sections. These sections are Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Word.

I started each lesson off by talking to the kids about the Listening Well questions. I wanted them to know what to be listening for. Each track on the CDs has its own section in the Study Guide. This allows you to pick and choose how much you want to do. Since we were not going to stop every 3-4 minutes, mom picked the questions she would be asking.

Study Guide
Study Guide

After the kids knew what to listen for, we started listening. I allowed the younger kids to color while listening, and would look for time period appropriate printables for them to work on. This kept their fingers busy while still keeping their ears open. After the selected tracks we would stop and work on the questions. We would work on a Thinking Further question or two. I also worked with the kids on making sure they understood the defining words and would help them if they didn't.

Once again, we were pleased with our experience with Heirloom Audio Productions. The kids get excited every time they hear the opening song! They have been known to steal my CDs and sneak off to their rooms to listen to the stories over and over again. The Cat of Bubastes has been no exception. The sound, the action, the feeling that you get when you listen to this audio drama. You get pulled into the story of Amuba and his journey. You hold your breath waiting to hear more at every turn. The gasps from the kids when the unexpected happens, the sheer delight when the good happens, the look of fear on their faces when the not so good happens. I saw so much more from them during listening to this audio drama than I have seen while they watch their favorite TV shows.

The Cat of Bubastes has earned a spot on the shelf next to the rest of our Heirloom Audio and G.A. Henty collection. This has been loved, and will continue to be loved in the house for years to come!

Have you fallen in love with Heirloom Audio Productions yet? What is your favorite one? What do you hope they come up with next?


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Check out the reviews from the other Homeschool Crew families here:


Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories 
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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}

While you are online, stop on over and show Spencer Learning some social media love by following them here:

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/spencerlearning
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/spencerlearning @spencerlearning


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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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