Keeping a Book Journal Instead of Book Reports

Reading is a huge thing for children. We need to teach them to love to read. So how do we do that while still knowing what they are reading? Take out the book reports and give them a book journal instead!

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Book reports suck the fun of reading out of the book. You need to spend the time paying attention so that you can write words on paper, be it the number of words or the number of pages you need to write. Kids start to not want to read because of having to write a book report after reading the book.

So, what do you do instead? How do you know your kids are reading the books they say they are? As I was reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, I found out about book journals. While this book is written for public school teachers, there is a wealth of information for homeschoolers as well!

Book Journals over Book Reports

I have modified the idea of the book journal from Donalyn Miller to make it work for us. However, I loved her idea of allowing a child to abandon a book that just doesn’t fit for the child. I know that I have found some books that just didn’t work for me to finish, so I agree with allowing our children to do the same.

That is why I have a section in my new book journal that not only allows us to track the books the kids have read, but also write down the books they have started and abandoned. Within this section, I have a notes column. Kids are able to write down notes about the books they have read, but they can also write down notes on the books they abandoned. Who knows, maybe they will come back to these books later.

How Do We Use the Book Journal

This is the fun part, you use it how you want! you can print the pages and just use it as it is. You can put it in a three-ring binder, bind it with a binding machine, or staple it and go. But you can also use it as a notebooking guide. You can take the pages and cut and glue them into a regular notebook. Make your child a whole notebook full of remembering the books they have journeyed through, and keep it for your records of what they have done.

Not only do you have the chance to list the books that have been read, but you also get the chance to write down the books your child wants to read. Let them take control over this. Let them find books they want to read and write them down.

I also take this further by giving space for your child’s favorite quotes from the books they read, their favorite parts of books they have read, their favorite characters from the books they have read, and a list of their favorite books. By having my kids write down these favorites, I know if they read the book or not.

I also have one page to allow children to track the different genres they are reading. This is something new for me. I hadn’t thought about making my kids read different genres, I was just happy to have them reading! This year we are making a few changes to our reading time. Not only do we have daily drop everything and read time, but we are also exploring different books and genres. I can’t wait to see what this will bring forth in my kids!

Grab Your Own Book Journal

I am in love with the book journal I have created. My kids love that I don’t pester them about the books they are reading when I can grab their journal and see for myself.  My kids love the fact that I trust them to pick books they will read. They get ideas and recommendations from me, but ultimately, I leave the choice up to them.

Give your child the freedom of their reading and allow them to love reading, by having them fill out a book journal instead of numerous book reports by grabbing your copy right here.

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Using Kindle Unlimited In Your Homeschool

A thing that I love about homeschooling is the fact that we can use books to help us learn. Reading, even if it is out loud to the children, is a great way to help your children learn. The tough part, your local library is not going to have every book you want to use in your homeschool. The answer, putting your Kindle and Amazon account to use with Kindle Unlimited.

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One thing that I love about Amazon is the Kindle Unlimited account that I have. I never realized how much this account would help with our homeschooling. It has given me options to add more books to our homeschool life.

We have found many great books within Kindle Unlimited that have helped us enrich our homeschool. I want to share a few of them with you so that you can give it a try yourself.

The Green Ember Series

Ok, so I reviewed these books in the physical format and my family LOVED them! We joined the bandwagon and wanted to read them all. Little did I know, I could get all of these books for FREE with my Kindle Unlimited account. If you have doubts about this series, this is the perfect time to sample it and see what you are missing.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This is a book that my children love! We read it together and watched the movie after. This was the first time that we did a comparison between the book and the movie. Just as I had hoped, the kids loved the book so much more. This is a well-known book and movie, so why not include it in your homeschool journey? If you have not read it before, you are missing out on so much compared to what the movie shows. Not only that, if you don’t want to use this as a read-aloud story, your older elementary children will be able to enjoy it on their own!

Fall Books

I love adding books into our homeschool that workaround the topic we are learning about. Right now we are focused on fall. There are good plenty of books available on Kindle Unlimited that will allow you to focus on fall.

Fall Leaves is a great book that is easy to read. It can be read as a short poem, or as a more in-depth study.  There are two ways to read this book, and my kids loved reading it both ways. This is a fun book to introduce fall to your children.


The Roll-Away Pumpkin is another great book to read during the fall season. This fun little story is about a pumpkin that gets away…the ending is a delicious ending that can solve a problem of a large pumpkin rolling down into the town. This is one that your kids will love!

Pumpkin Jack is a fun story about a pumpkin that doesn’t just disappear. This story takes us through the stages of a pumpkin after it is done being carved for the holiday season. This is a fun story to teach your children about how pumpkins can grow from seeds.

The Lord of the Rings

This was a fun find for me. I love this series and I love this series and being able to introduce this series to my kids is on the top of my list. Not only is this a great movie, but it is also a great book series. I read all of them before I watched the movies, and let me tell you, the books are WAY better! I am thrilled to be able to access these books within our Kindle membership to read to my kids.

The Unhurried Homeschooler

Now, this is a mom book! This is a book that I recommend homeschool moms, new and veteran, read. It has been recommended in groups that I am in, and I honestly could not have loved it more. This will help you focus on your “why” vs trying to check off all the boxes when it comes to homeschooling.

Having access to all sorts of different books with the click of a button means that we are never without a book for our homeschool. Mom and kids can read what they need to have a book on hand to read. I firmly believe that reading is an essential item in teaching anything to my kids, so having access to books for free is a huge bonus for us!

If you are homeschooling and wondering how to get access to all the books, check out Kindle Unlimited and grab those books to allow your child, and yourself to read what you want!

How have you used Kindle Unlimited in your homeschool? Or, if you are just learning about this, how do you plan to use it in your homeschool?

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All About Reading – A Timberdoodle Review

I am on my last child who needs to learn how to read. I have already learned that there are many ways to teach this, but this time I am trying All About Reading Level 1 with Baby Girl.

~ I received a copy of this from Timberdoodle in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and I was not compensated in any other way. ~

What Is It

All About Reading Level 1 is part of the Kindergarten Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle. I received a Teacher’s Manual, Student Pack with Activity Book, three readers, Reader Divider Cards and Reading Review Box, Letter Tiles, Magnets, and Tote Bag.

With a little bit of prep work at the beginning, there is little need to prep at the beginning of each lesson. Each lesson in the teacher’s manual starts with a section just for you. This will tell you the objective of the lesson, what you need, and what you need to know before you begin.

At the start of each lesson, you will start with a review of the previous lessons. This review allows your child to keep on track and allows you to see where they need to keep practicing.

After that, you move on to the new teaching. The teacher’s manual takes you step-by-step on how to do the new teaching. You are not alone on this. Not only that, but you will use multiple ways to teach, as this is a multi-sensory curriculum.

How We Used It

I spent my first day reading the beginning of the teacher’s manual and applying the letter tiles to the magnets. I also took the letter cards and word cards and separated them by lesson. This had me ready to open and go for each lesson.

I would sit down with Baby Girl and we would start going through the lesson. While the lessons are short, we would take our time with them, sometimes taking 2 or 3 days to complete the lesson. Even with spreading the lesson out, we would still do the review for that lesson each time.

Baby Girl has a short attention span, so even though the lessons are already short, sometimes it just needed to be shortened even more. Since we didn’t have a magnetic board to use our tiles on, we took those tiles to the fridge. I think this was the best part for Baby Girl!

This was our “reading class” for at least 3 days out of the week. That was the least amount of time we would spend on it, with 4 or 5 being the normal. But, as I mentioned, sometimes we would spread the lesson out. It was fun to have a lot of ways to practice the reading, from word cards, worksheets with different activities and books that the children will be reading within the first three lessons! When teaching to read, reading a book is a huge incentive!

What We Thought Of It

We love this program. I wish I would have tried this with Ray Ray and Little Miss! One thing I did learn was that each child will learn to read at their own pace. So, while going into this with the intention of teaching Baby Girl to read, I also knew that I had to go at her pace.

With this in mind, this is why we split our lessons. When Baby Girl was not feeling it, we would take a break. This is also why would re-do the reviews at the beginning of the lessons. While I wanted to follow her lead, I didn’t want her to forget what we were learning.

Baby Girl was excited to get started. This was just what I wanted. She loved the letter tiles on the fridge and would do the sounding out of those letters for hours. In fact, I found this to be a great way to do our reviews. The other thing she really liked was the splat pencil. Sometimes instead of having her read the words, I would say them and have her “splat” them.

Overall, we are impressed with this curriculum. While we are taking longer to use it, we are still getting the full benefit of it. We are not skipping a step and redoing some as we go. Baby Girl loves doing this and knows that when it is too much, we stop. I feel this is why she still loves it.

If you have a child who is ready to start learning to read this is the curriculum you will want to have.

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The Curse of the Werepenguin – A Book Review

Have you heard of a Werepenguin? No? I hadn’t either until we got the chance to read The Curse of the Werepenguin from Penguin Random House. We received an Advanced Reader Copy of the book for our review.

About the Book

All orphan Bolt Wattle has ever wanted was to find his true family. When a mysterious baron in far-off Brugaria sends for Bolt, he wonders if he’s getting closer to finding his long-lost parents. But Baron Chordata appears to be a twelve-year-old boy who wears tuxedos all the time, shouts at everyone, and forbids Bolt from asking questions. Things couldn’t get any worse . . . until midnight, when the Baron bites Bolt and turns him into a half boy, half penguin. Then things really couldn’t get worse– nope, wait, they get a lot worse. With the help and hindrance of a plucky girl who just might be the world’s greatest bandit, a whale cult led by a man whose weapon is a stale loaf of French bread, and a sinister but friendly fortune-teller who can’t stop cackling, Bolt’s on a quest to reverse the curse, return to human form, and stop the Baron from taking over the country of Brugaria with his army of mind-controlled penguins in what might be the weirdest–and funniest–middle-grade novel you’ve ever read.

About the Author

Allan Woodrow is the author of many books including The Pet WarClass DismissedUnschooled, Field Tripped, and now, inspired by Dracula, old werewolf movies, Young Frankenstein, and an odd affection for fish sticks, The Curse of the Werepenguin. When Allan isn’t writing or noshing on breading-coated seafood, he’s often presenting to schools, libraries, and conferences. You can learn more about Allan at allanwoodrow.com.

What We Thought Of It

This was such a fun book to read. It was easy for me to read aloud to the kids. We had a great time laughing at the silly parts. I would caution you that this is about werepenguins, and while it is funny, there are some intense/scary parts that younger kids would not enjoy.

Being a middle school book, it is recommended for ages 8+. There are 352 pages. These pages are broken down into four parts and 49 chapters. The chapters are short and easy to complete, which makes reading it that much easier! There are a few cute cartoon-like drawings in the book (which is the Advanced Reader Copy, so this may have changed for the final printing).

If your kids love a fun yet weird book, this is the one you will want to grab! It just became available for sale today! Grab your copy right here:

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**I have been compensated for this post by receiving a free product. All opinions are my own no matter what and I have not been influenced in any way.**

Christian Books by Kayla Jarmon – A Homeschool Crew Review

We love books in our house! That should be no surprise for anyone who has read about our Blogging Through the Alphabet Books series. When we were given a chance to check out three Christian books from Kayla Jarmon, we were excited! We enjoyed reading A Boy and His Dog, Don’t Forget Me, and Dying is Part of This World in a digital flipbook style.

A Boy and His Dog is a cute picture book about all the adventures that a boy and his dog go on through the day. While reading this full-color book, we see all the adventures that these two friends go on during the day. We are also reminded of the true friendship that a boy and his dog have and also how boys never really seem to outgrow this friendship with their dogs. 

Don’t Forget Me is the first book in the Discussion Series books. This is a book about a baby growing in mommy’s tummy and how God keeps reminding the baby that He will always be there and never to forget Him. We follow along with the growth of the baby, how they love the sound of Mom and Dad and how the room is getting small. This is an excellent book for an expecting couple or even a child who will be a big brother or sister. Don’t Forget Me is another beautiful picture book.

Dying is Part of This World is a book that helps a child through someone dying. This is the second book in the Discussion Series books. Dying is Part of This World is different from the other two books, as it is a chapter book. But is it a simple chapter book. There are different stages of dealing with death, and this book covers them all from the fear to the second death and God’s economy. By reading this book, you are able to help your child know and understand that death is normal and while it is scary, it is also a good thing.

All of these books were great books, but after getting these books, my great grandpa, the kids great, great grandpa passed away. He was 103, so we knew this time was coming, but it was not easy. We were able to work our way through our emotions by reading through this book and answering the questions at the end of each chapter. While the girls were a little too little to understand much of it, Ray Ray really took to the book to help him deal with his emotions.

Kayla Jarmon took the time to write some beautiful books that are focused on God and His plan for us, from the beginning to the end of our lives. I am so thankful that we had these books at this time in our lives. They have brought joy as well as understanding to our family. We have a new cousin on the way, and great grandpa passed, so the kids were able to relate to the books. Are was a little upset that dog book featured a boy because she is the dog lover in our house, but she related so much to this beautiful story!

If you are looking for good, solid Christian books that help your child understand that God has a plan for everything, these books are what you are looking for!

You can find Kayla Jarmon on Social Media right here:

And make sure you stop by and see what the other Crew Members thought of these books right here:

Discussion Book Series and A Boy and His Dog {Kayla Jarmon Reviews}
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Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom – A Homeschool Crew Review

Reading is one of those topics that scare me. I always worry about how I am doing, or not doing. When Little Miss was getting ready to read, I noticed a few issues. However, with Reading Kingdom, the worries I once had, have disappeared!

Reading Kingdom is an online program that works on teaching your child how to read. This program is geared towards ages 3-10 and will help your child work on reading and writing up to a third-grade level (Lexile 750).

Reading requires six different areas, sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. Most other programs only focus on sounds, but Reading Kingdom focuses on all six of these areas.

While it is an online program, it is easy for kids to navigate. I don’t have to do anything other than log into our account, and Little Miss takes over from there. She is taken to where she left off and is able to continue on with the click of a button.

It is recommended that your child logs in and uses this program 4 days each week. When you log in, you can see how many days your child has been using the program on average. You are also able to see your child’s current level, their percentage that they have completed and their performance level.

This was the week after great grandpa passed away, so we had missed a few days.

If you want, you can even sign up to get a weekly email of your child’s activity each week.

Once your child logs in, they are taken to where they left off last. The lessons take about 20-30 minutes depending on how fast the child works. They will have about 10-30 activities to complete to finish the lesson for the day.

30 may seem like a lot of activities, but most of these are listen to the computer say the focus word of the lesson and type it. This is simple, and your child will progress through the lesson rather quickly.

After learning what the word looks like and how to write it, your child will be able to start using the word in sentences. The computer will tell them exactly what to do each step of the way. They are not supposed to have help from mom or dad, and every time I stepped in to watch Little Miss, I would hear, “Mommy, you can’t help me. Go away.”

I had initially planned on having both Little Miss and Ray Ray use this program, but Ray Ray can already read at a 6th-grade level. After trying this for a few days, we opted to let him step down from using this as it was too easy.

Little Miss, however, loved using this program. She would beg me to use this first this upon waking up. She would work through the day’s lesson and have so much fun spelling the words she learned each day. We had no issues with her logging in and getting through the lessons. Our other favorite part, if she had to stop the lesson halfway through for some reason, she would not have to start over. When she logged back in later in the day, it would take her right to where she left off!

As Little Miss continued through the activities on Reading Kingdom, I noticed her spelling more words throughout the day, not just when she was on the computer. She would be able to draw a picture and actually write the word of what she drew! This is huge for me because I was very worried about her not spelling or sounding things out just a few short months ago!

In just 15-20 minutes a day, I have seen Little Miss learn to read with Reading Kingdom!

Check out these reviews from other members of the Homeschool Review Crew:

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}
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The Magic Stories – 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.

Reading is a very important thing in our house. I love knowing that my kids can read, and having that skill can take them places. But not only do I want them to be able to read, I want them to comprehend what they are reading. I also want them to be able to write if they feel called to do so. Sometimes finding the right resource to help with this can be hard. I found this kind of program with The Magic Stories from Allsaid & Dunn, LLC, publishers of The Reading Game and authors of the Wordly Wise series.

What Is It

The Magic Stories is geared towards 2nd-3rd graders. This is a follow up to The Reading Game, but can be used even if The Reading Game was not (we didn’t use it before using these). There are six stories, each story also has exercises to go with it.

The exercises consist of the “Naughty 40 Words”, or the 40 toughest words from the book. These come as printable flashcards with the meaning on the back. There are also 4 worksheets. These are a Maze, Finish the sentence, Imagine and Finish the story. These exercises are great for building confidence and comprehension.

The six books that are included with The Magic Stories are: The Magic Hole, The Magic Ax, The Magic Joke, The Magic Hotdog, The Magic Boots and The Magic Box. These are not just fun little stories, but rather lessons within stories. While you are working on comprehension, you are also able to teach a life lesson or character trait to your child as well.

How Did We Use It

I looked everything over when we first had access to this digital product. I could print the books, about 20 pages each, or use them on the iPad. While I liked the idea of saving on paper, the pictures were in black and white, and could be colored in if printed. I liked having this option, so we went with that!

We took one week per book. Monday, we would go over the “Naughty 40” list. We would work on seeing which ones we knew, which ones we didn’t and have some fun with a crossword puzzle that I would make for Ray Ray. Tuesday was our reading day. We would work on reading the story of the week. Sometimes we would do the maze right away, but otherwise it was just the story.

The rest of the week we would work on the worksheets. The maze was a simple worksheet that we could do on the same day as any of the other worksheets. I loved to go in order of how they were given to us.

The Maze was Ray Ray’s favorite worksheet of all. There was no writing involved! All we had to do was follow and decide if the questions were true or false. While this seemed simple to him, I loved seeing what he could remember in a fun setting. Finish the sentence was the next exercise on the list. This one didn’t ask questions in the typical question answer format. You simply finish the sentence. I really liked this idea. I would work with Ray Ray on this one and would ask the actual question. With the start of the answer, we were able to work on how to answer questions in complete sentences, something my older son still struggles with!

Exercises 3 and 4, Imagine and Finish the Story, drew on Ray Ray’s creative side. In Imagine, he was given some great imagine this style questions based off the story. These took the story and related it to him and his life. This required more thought, and because of this, I had him answer me verbally instead of forcing him to write. I liked getting the answer instead of fighting the writing.

In Finish the story, you are given a story starter and you have to finish the story. I loved having these great starters, because it expanded Ray Ray’s story mind frame from what he typically does. For this exercise I turned on the computer, opened our word processor, and let him go. This could take up the rest of the day, so I always saved it for last on Friday.

What We Thought

At first, I didn’t think this would work for us. Ray Ray may be in third grade, but he reads at a sixth-grade level. However, I decided to take a chance with it, and I am thankful that I did! First, these stories are so awesome! We loved to read them aloud, which meant the little girls and big brother were all able to listen to them. The stories were a great discussion starter for us as a family.

Add in the exercises and the “Naughty 40” and Ray Ray was picking up on things I never thought he would. His ability to answer simple questions after reading the story, even days later, was growing. He wasn’t nervous about being wrong, but confident when he answered. This was a win for me!

I loved watching him grow in his confidence of understanding what he was learning. I also loved seeing his story writing skills build by challenging him to write about different things. He also loved this. He now has more stories in his collection of short stories. I never had to argue with him about doing these lessons, but I watched him learn while doing something he liked!

You can use this program in many different ways, shortening the time frame for each book, or extending it longer. Check out the different ways 54 other families used this in their homeschool right here:

The Magic Stories {Allsaid & Dunn, LLC. Reviews}
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Reading Eggs – A Homeschool Crew Review

One of the important things to teach our kids is how to read. Sometimes they don’t want to, other times they just need some motivation to help them out. We have fallen in love with Reading Eggs and the fun online learning and activates that we have found there!

Reading Eggs is an online program that keeps your kids interested in learning to read by engaging them with games, songs and rewards. These help to motivate the children to keep going. This is set up like a game, and earning eggs or cards (in Reading Eggspress) makes your kids push through and learn.

There are three different levels in Reading Eggs. You start off with Reading Eggs Junior. This is great for the new learners from 2-4 years old. This helps build their pre-reading skills and in a fun way. Reading Eggs is for 4-7 years old and starts lessons on a self-paced mode. Once your child has mastered reading, they move on to Reading Eggspress for 7-13 years old. This section takes the reading and looks at the meaning.

For this review, Little Miss used Reading Eggs to get her reading and Ray Ray used Reading Eggspress to help build his reading skills further. We used this as our language arts curriculum for 3-4 days out of the week.

Each of the lessons is self-paced. The kids are able to log in under their own user name and go when they want to. The first thing they did was a placement test to see where they should be in the program. Both children skipped many lessons, and were placed in the area that was challenging, yet they were able to do.

Each self-paced lesson consisted of numerous different activities. These ranged from games, reading and learning. Ray Ray being in the older section of this also had quizzes as a part of his lessons. These quizzes were really comprehension of what he had just read, but in his mind, they were quizzes!

Little Miss is just like her big brother, as in, she doesn’t want to learn to read. She fights me. I don’t really worry about it, knowing they will learn when they want, but when I logged her in on our Free 4 Week Trial, she wouldn’t stop! She wanted to keep going, keep learning! I wasn’t going to stop her!

After a week of using Reading Eggs, I noticed her picking up on reading. She paid more attention to the sounds of the words we were speaking to her and she was begging me to do her school! She wanted to learn to read! For once, she wanted to learn how to read! I just stood back and watched. Something was clicking for her and I loved watching that happen!

After two weeks, TWO weeks, she was reading sentences, and simple books! This girl went from not having an interest in reading to wanting to read and loving it! Why? Because she played a fun game on the computer and finished the “level”. Because that level lead to the next and she wanted to see what she could earn next, so she did the next lesson.

There is something new on Reading Eggs as well! A Homeschool Guide. This guide is for Kindergarten to 2nd Grade. Each guide contains 36 weeks of lessons mapped out with Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Some of the lessons are online lessons using Reading Eggs, or Math Seeds, but others are reading the books in the Reading Eggs Library. This is a general topic, and you can build off it however you would like.

With quick learning, and simple sight words, reading a sentence starts early. This is enough motivation to keep your child interested in what they are doing. Little Miss loved that she could read so quickly and this was exciting for her. She wouldn’t stop! I didn’t make her! If you have a child who is struggling to read, or one who fights your current lessons, you need to give Reading Eggs a try! Don’t forget, you are able to use this 14 day FREE trial to see before you make a decision.

Reading Eggs
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The Bears on Hemlock Mountain Study Guide – A Homeschool Crew Review

One of my goals as a parent is to make sure my children know great pieces of literature. I don’t just want them to read the book and move on, I want them to really know the literature. Progeny Press is a great company that provides study guides to these great pieces of literature, helping your child really know all about the book. We had the chance to check out The Bears on Hemlock Mountain E-Guide.

This study guide for The Bears on Hemlock Mountain is geared towards grades 1-3. You will have background information, Before-you-read Activities, vocabulary and questions for the chapters along with fun games and activities to complete after you have completed the book. This is just what I was looking for when I said I wanted something to help them really know the great pieces of literature!

After receiving this E-Guide, I took the time to read the Note to Instructor. While I have used these guides before, I wanted to refresh myself and make sure nothing had changed. After the note, I found a Synopsis of the book. This is great, because, while I have heard of the book, I had never actually read it yet. This gave me an idea of what Ray Ray would be reading and learning about. Finally, I found an About the Author section as well as some background information about the book.

We were finally ready to start! Well, sort of. First, we needed to have some fun with our Before-You-Read Activities. There were six activities listed for us to pick from. We could do them all, or just one, or as many as we wanted. There is nothing stating that we even needed to do any before we started out reading. I had Ray Ray work on a few of these, including listening to birdsongs we found online and checking out different pictures of animal’s tracks. We hadn’t had a lot of rain during this time, so finding actual animal tracks didn’t work for us.

Now, we were ready to read! We had an idea of a few things we would be reading, and also what Jonathan may have been hearing and seeing in the book. I figured that we would do our reading over a day or two, following that up with a day or two of the study guide. I found out rather quickly that Ray Ray’s reading level was way above this book, so we did the reading in one day instead of two. However, his willingness to work on writing or questions took us about three days instead of two.

The first day after reading our chapters, we spent time on the vocabulary section. This ranged from section to section, sometimes we would tell what a word meant in a sentence, other times we would simply match the word to the definition. Each time it was different, but it kept us on our toes and the boring routine wasn’t there!

Questions followed the vocabulary. These are comprehension questions that make us think about what we read. Not just who did what and when, rather, deciding how characters reacted by the words we were reading. Trying to figure out if something would have been difficult for Jonathan and why or why not. These questions dig deeper and make us look at the book a little different.

Some of the questions would also include Bible verses, relating the story and the Bible to each other. These questions also help to bring the story, the Bible and what the kids face all together as one.

After we finished our reading, we had the chance to check out After-you-read Activities. Once again, you can decide how many if any that you would like to include in your homeschool. Ray Ray ended this book, by learning a little more about bears and hibernation. After he spent time learning about this, he was able to take his notes and tell mom, dad, and the two little sisters more about it in an oral report.

I loved this study guide! I loved how easy it was for me to use. There was little prep needed, other than the before and after you read activities, and this was only if you wanted to do the extras. I loved the depths of the questions. While they aren’t extremely hard to figure out for the 1-3 grades, they do require thought to be put into it. The writing place is large enough for their handwriting level. There was plenty of room to write the answers in. Now if I could just get Ray Ray to not fuss over writing and just do it, it would be better for me!

Because Ray Ray does not like to write that much, I did alter some of the work in the question section. I would allow him to verbally answer half of the questions while making him write the other half of the answers. This helped him through some of the battles, which made me happier.

Ray Ray didn’t like the writing of this study guide, but he loved the book and was happy to verbally answer the questions. I watched him actually slowing down and thinking about the answers, this alone was all that I was worried about. I don’t care if he can write it, I just care that he is thinking about it, and he is!

Progeny Press has many study guides for many ages and books. Check out a few more of them here from other members of the crew!

Study Guides for Literature {Progeny Press Reviews}
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Phonics Museum from Veritas Press – A Homeschool Crew Review

Finding a program that helps kids read from an early age and making it fun is not always easy to do. We have tried a few over the years, and while there are many that we enjoy, there is one that stands out for someone as young as Baby Girl (2 years old). Veritas Press has come out with a fun program, the Phonics Museum App, that makes learning to read a game instead of a lesson!

The Phonics Museum App is a fun learning app aimed for children between the ages of 3-7 to teach reading in a multi-sensory approach. Your child will learn the letters, their sounds and how to draw them with their fingers as they progress through the games, videos, songs and interactions that are set up for them.

This app is currently available through the iTunes store and you will want to make sure your Apple device meets the required compatibility. We had first tried this on our iPad Mini, but soon found out that it didn’t work that well. Once trying it on the iPad Air, we had minimal issues and were able to enjoy this program.

We started this program with Little Miss (6 years old) in mind. We soon found out that even though they say up to seven, that this program was too “little” for her. She easily became bored and didn’t want to use it. But she also already knows her letter sounds. If your 6 or 7-year-old has issues with the letter sounds, this would be a great way for them to work on it!

Once I figured out that Little Miss was “too old” for this, I attempted it with Baby Girl. She is on the younger age of the recommended age, being 2 ½ instead of 3, but she LOVED it! When I found that she loved it, I rolled with it, as homeschool moms have learned to do over the years, and let her have at it!

The museum allows you to do three different things when you first enter, you can play games, check out your trophy room or do your lessons. However, we learned right away, that to play the games they must be unlocked through your lesson. This is a great way to review what you have learned later by replaying these games.

While Baby Girl is below the age recommendation, she would sit with me or daddy and we would help her with some of the tasks she could not handle on her own yet. We would sit with her and watch her work on her lesson path. Each lesson path has a combination of videos with Mrs. Biddle and games to play to work on letter sounds.

The lessons are fun and silly which drew Baby Girl’s attention to them. The videos were short, yet to the point. They not only taught us about the letters and sounds, but history and art. The songs were catchy and made the learning that much easier.

The games are based on mastery. They repeat the games, but in a different style. They work on mastering the sounds of the letters. This is where Baby Girl needed a little help. She tried a few times on her own, but was too young to do this on her own. The other games we have encountered so far are games to help “writing” the letters with fingertips. This is Baby Girl’s favorite game! She loves working on writing, and I love to know that she is getting used to the idea of actually writing the letters.

While we had a lot of fun with this app, we did notice that there were some freezing issues. Once the app froze, it would get out of the game and we would have to re-do what we had just done. I don’t know if this was an issue with our device, but it wasn’t that often, so I blame technology more than the app itself!

While I started this review with Little Miss in mind, I am glad to see Baby Girl starting some learning by working on her letters and phonics. This is something that we focus on, but love to make fun. This is the perfect way to do just that with someone her age. I don’t want her to feel like school, heck she is only 2, but I do want to get a good foundation started as soon as I can!

Want to check out more about Phonics Museum? Check out the other reviews right here:

Phonics Museum App {Veritas Press Reviews}
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