Friday, March 28, 2014

Spelling You See - Jack and Jill (Level B) Review (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

Little J has really been hitting the jackpot with our reviews so far this school year. We have had some great stuff and Spelling You See definitely did not disappoint. If you think the name sounds familiar you would be right. Spelling You See is produced by the same company that produces the infamous home-school math program Math-U-See.

Spelling You See Review

Little J knows all of his alphabet and letter sounds and has been really doing well with his reading program so although he is only five and if he was going to public school wouldn't be in Kindergarten till August I decided to try Spelling You See - Jack and Jill Level B with him instead of Spelling You See Listen and Write Level A and I am so glad that we did. Little J has seriously loved this curriculum I can't wait to see how he improves as we work through both books.

Spelling You See Review
The Spelling You See founders have the philosophy that to learn to spell requires learning things in a certain order, in the same way as we learn to walk. These stages are very important and should not be skipped although they can be taught at different speeds depending on the child's ability and skill.  This is why there is no set grade level. The program also focuses a lot on visual learning. You can read more about their philosophy here. There is also a cool video I would recommend checking out.

Spelling You See Review
Spelling You See is not divided up into grade levels like other curriculum but is based on ability. Currently there is five levels but I heard that there will be at least two more levels. The levels are A-E and each level has a sample PDF that you can download here. Basically the program is designed for preschool-10 years old. The key thing when deciding where to start is not the reading level of the child but the spelling level - interesting right! One last thing if you wanted to find out where to place your child in this program there are guidelines to help you figure it out.

What You Get;
 
Jack and Jill (Level B) Starter pack - $30.00
2 student workbooks
1 pack of colored pencils
1 handwriting guide

Jack and Jill (Level B) Instructor Book - $16.00


What Little J Thought;

Little J loved this program for many reasons. First, the lessons are designing to be short, there is no messing around or twaddle involved. In fact for the most part we try to follow a Charlotte Mason type education and this programs fits in very well with that way of thinking. Second, Little J loves the nursery rhymes, they caught his attention straight away and he spends all week reciting the one that we are working on. Third, he loves that from the very first day he has been writing words, and yes that has definitely been a huge plus with him. I loved it because it was easy to do away from home. This month we have spent two afternoons at our local pool while my older two have their swim team practice. We had to stay because Little J had swimming lessons right after swim team which made it impractical to go home. It was easy to grab these books and our colored pencils and do a spelling lesson in the waiting area. Luckily the waiting area is full of tables and chairs. We did this every time Little J had a swim lesson.


How We Used It;

The program is split up into 36 lessons each split into 5 daily lessons. We completed one lesson 5 days a week. I have not even asked Little J to do this program he reminds me everyday to do his spelling program. On top of the first page each day is a list of easy instructions. Following these instructions is easy;

I would read the nursery rhyme. Next we would say it again clapping to the rhythm. Then we read it again slowly pointing to each word as we went along. This method really helped Little J with his reading confidence. Every day as we read the same nursery rhyme he found it easier to read it himself. Of course a lot of that was memorization too, but I am OK with that.  The next part of of the lesson Little J completed a section of copy work, which was of course the passage we read together. The child then follows the third instructions for example 'underline words that begin with a capital or lowercase t' or 'circle all of the quotation marks'.


The second page of the daily lesson was split into two sections. Tracing and writing letters, with the instructions of saying the sounds as you write. The focus is on the lower case letters as they are the ones written most frequently. When we started the program Little J would ask, can I write an upper case letter. I would say, no not unless it is the beginning of a sentence or a proper noun. For some reason he LOVES upper case letters. The second part of this page starts of with easy dictation. Some of the words are even written lightly on the page so that the child can trace them. As the book progresses the child is writing each word from dictation progressing from three letter words to five letter words. The words used for dictation are found in the instructor's book.

We haven't finished the first workbook yet but I am really happy with the progress made. Little J has started to write more on his own. He can write some of the words but asks for help with the ones he is unsure off. Just you can't read it he wrote "Today I got a cool star wars pen".


The first book covers lessons 1-18 and the second book 19-36. Now remember each lesson contains 5 small sections one for each day of the week.  It is recommended to set a timer for 10 minutes especially at this young age, but Little J wouldn't have it. He liked to finish all of the lesson. Sometimes I would pick up his book to start our next lesson only to find that he had done the copy work for that day.

This program definitely suits Little J's learning style and my teaching style. I will hopefully purchase the next level although I do think it's a little pricey. I think it's a shame that the instructor book has to be bought separately as the program really can't be used without it, the $46.00 price tag for both seems quite steep.

The only negative thing is that they are not spiral bound. Little J gets a little frustrated as he says it's hard to write neatly near the spine on the left hand page. The pages are perforated for easy removal but I really don't want to do that as loose papers tend to get lost here. It's easier for me to keep track of everything if it stays in the book.

I think using this program along side with our current phonics reading program will be a good balance.

Check out what others thought by clicking on the link below. Make sure to check out all the different levels.

Social Media Facebook SpellingYouSee
                     Twitter @SpellingYouSee 


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Random 5 March 29 2014

1.This week has felt like a blur...I have been down with a cold and just managed to get the mandatory stuff done so I completely missed my wordless Wednesday post. Which is really sad because I have started to really enjoy them.

2. I like to help solve problems. I like to help people. It really hurts my heart to see people I love going through something knowing I can't really help. Just saying...

3. Little J finished his Red Cross level 3 preschool swim lessons. He did an awesome job and they told me he is ready for Red Cross Level 2 - non preschool levels called 'Learn to Swim'. Which is excellent as we have started to level the ground for our above ground pool. It's really hard work, and I am SO glad that my husband is such a hard worker.

4. I bought Mrs Meyers hand and body soap by mistake this week instead of the liquid soap. Major fail as I wanted it to make homemade cleaning solutions. Well at least my hands will enjoy it. I may even try it as bubble bath or shower gel!



5. Last Friday I went to the zoo with my Brother and Sister in Law and their kids. We had a nice time, except for the fact my Sister in law and Jam were sick...with me catching up with them. When we left the house Jam felt fine. After our hour drive...not so much. He still put on a brave face though.



Aren't those hippos the cutest...

The Pebble Pond


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Random 5 Friday March 21

1. I feel like the only home school Mom who doesn't give their kids spring break? Well we did go to the zoo today for a field trip...that counts as spring break right?

2. We have been working on a selection of reviews this week, Little J has been hitting the jackpot so far this year. It's great to be working on school work when a five year old asks to do it and reminds you everyday.

3. Little J wants a bow tie...

4. Jam and Boo are just about to the end of their winter swim season. It is amazing to see the improvement. I can remember the first time Jam swam...it was a long time ago. This was one of his first lessons. He loved that they let him go off the diving board.


Then we did swim team for a year but the 30 minute drive to practice drove me crazy. He was SO cute in those jammers. It's great we only have to drive 5 minutes to practice now, especially since we now swim four times and week.


5. We seem to have a cold/flu going around our house. Jam and I thought we had skipped it...but guess what today, as the others are feeling better we have started feeling icky. Just in time for the weekend. Typical.

The Pebble Pond

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Random 5 Friday March 14 2014

1. Last Sunday it felt like spring had sprung! It's been typical spring weather all week jumping from hot to cold. Luckily today it is warm and the kids are enjoying another afternoon playing outside with friends.

2. It's spring break for our local school district, they get quite a few days off despite the snow days. Do you talk a break for spring? We normally just work on through unless we are going away.

3. I am SO glad it's Friday I haven't slept in past 6 for 10 days...tomorrow NO ALARMS. The change in the clock really messes me up. I hope I can sleep in or else I may cry.

4. We are working on some really great school stuff this week. Jam and Little J are working with a new program called CTC Math. Both of them are really enjoying it. Jam is working on Basic Math and Pre-Algebra which is there program designed for 7th grade. Little J is working on Kindergarten. This week he has covered the first three units in Number, Pattern, and Algebra - yes that's Algebra in Kindergarten

5. The other new program we are working on is Life of Fred we use have been using the math books for a while, in fact Little J started Apples the first elementary book. We only started yesterday and we have done three chapters already. The older two started on another Life of Fred series Life of Fred Language Arts I ordered the first book Australia and the kids love it. Even Boo (officially my 5th grader although she does a lot harder work) loves it. They are recommended for High School but start of easier and so we are going to work through them hopefully twice. There are four altogether.

Whoops no pictures today, I better find some! I obviously took more pictures of Little J this week...


The Pebble Pond

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday March 12 2014





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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

ScienceandMath.com Amazing Science Volume 1 - Review (Schoolhouse Review Crew)

ScienceandMath.com Review

We love science and DVDs so when we had the opportunity to review ScienceandMath.com and their Amazing Science - Volume 1 DVD Little J and I were very excited.

Little J loves being able to watch TV however I try to limit it as much as possible to documentary's and educational programs. Luckily for the most part Little J complies, and Amazing Science definitely did not disapoint.

The DVD is designed to help children grades 1-3 to learn science in a fun and visual way. Little J is in Kindergarten and loves it however, my older two are 13 and 11 and they love it too. If you buy this DVD expect everyone in your house to enjoy it! We even shared it with our friends that we do science with and they loved it too!

ScienceandMath.com Review

A couple of Saturdays ago My husband and older kids went out rock hunting, and I had a meeting at home. So I popped in this DVD and Little J watch 11 experiments by the time I was done, and believe me he would have watched it for a lot longer.


We have watched this DVD together and Little J watched it multiple times by himself. He loves to tell me in detail about each experiment, what happened and why. Sometimes when we do experiments at home the results are less than optimal. I am sure that we are not the only family that suffers with failed experiments. Of course I am not talking all the time...sometimes they work. What I like about these videos is that we get to see what 'should' happen first and watch the experiment done so we can 'copy' when we do it, or re-watch to see where we went wrong. However all the videos we watched and then did the experiments for all turned out great.


We did the floating egg experiment more than once because Little J could do it by himself. The first time our water looked a little cloudy and it was harder to see the egg float, so we did it again and let the solution settle. It was a lot clearer.


There are so many experiments on the DVD that it would have been great if there was an insert included to help you gather supplies, a shopping list of sorts. A fellow blogger and reviewer of this DVD actually made one that you can download for free. You can find her review with the downloadable list here.

We still have many experiments to try, I really want to do the Dry Ice Bubbles and will definitely get together with our science buddy family to work on a lot more of these together (she also knows where to get dry ice - and how to handle it). We are definitely working through all of the experiments. The kids are planning to get Dad involved with the 'Un-burnable Money' experiment. You can see some sample experiment videos here including color changing milk (Little J could do this ALL DAY) and cloud in a bottle.
ScienceandMath.com Review

Jason Gibson is the creator of ScienceandMath.com and his goal is to "kindle your love of Science, math, and the world around you" well Little J has definitely had his love of science kindled during this review. We will be watching these videos and redoing the experiments over and over. I love that most of the experiments are done with items found in most homes, a plus for those trying to study and teach science on a budget.

For those who think credentials are important Jason Gibson has a advanced degrees in Engineering and Physics, and has worked as a Rocket Scientist for NASA.

This DVD is definitely a keeper in our library.

Connect with ScienceandMath.com on Facebook here

The Amazing Science - DVD Volume 1 retails for $24.99 or download price of $14.99 and is designed for grade 1-3

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Random 5 Friday March 7

Random Five 

1. The sun has been shining for the last two days! Maybe SPRING is on it's way!!!!!!!

2. Dad and I took Little J on a walk last night. We took some apples along and fed some horse. Little J loved it. (Yes those are ostrich's in the background).


3. Little J started swimming lessons again this week. He is now doing Red Cross level 3 preschool.

 4. I had had a House Party today for Sister Shuberts Bread. It was great. I had some friends come and a couple brought their kids (they home school too) However then we found out it was early out so the other friend that came brought her kids too, it was SO much fun. In fact with the weather being so warm 3 of the kids decided to stay longer and play outside...I love it when it's warm enough to get outside. (Bonus - My hubby is taking down the Christmas lights...OK OK I know it's March but it has been seriously cold)!



5. Some of you know that Little J has Amblyopia. He has to work on a computer therapy program. It has been like pulling teeth lately to get him to do it willingly. Seriously, I thought I was going to lose my mind! Little J solved the problem himself. This week he asked if he could listen to an audio book while doing it. It was awesome, no more crying and everyone is happy. So far he has listened to the BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and, George's Marvelous Medicine. Today we started the Great Glass Elevator...can you tell who is a favorite here!


Don't forget to pop over to The Pebble Pond.


The Pebble Pond



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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


I was sent this picture today from one of my Italian learners.






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Monday, March 3, 2014

Motivated Moms Ebooks Review - HomeschoolReviewCrew

I was given the opportunity to review a planner type e-book from Motivated Moms.

Motivated Moms Review

Motivated Moms is a chore planning system designed to help 'Moms' to have a clean, organized home and fit in all the fun things that you want to do. The planning system is available as a downloadable e-book, and an app for iPhone/iPad/iPod or Android. I reviewed the Motivated Moms printable e-book system.

Motivated Moms Review

The program is designed as a simple checklist. The idea is to refer to the list daily, check of each item as you complete it, BOOM instant organization. Motivated Moms have a motto: Make Every Day Count! Hopefully with the help of this e-book I will be able to do that this year!

Motivated Moms Review

OK so that's the theory, what is the reality- well at least in my home.

I found this program a little overwhelming at first, seriously. The list seemed longer than I could ever fit in my schedule. I work from home (15-20 hours a week), home-school my kids, run the organization for 12-18 Young Women in my Church, and try to be a good wife and mother.
Phew that makes me feel tired just thinking about it. I knew that if I tried to do this by myself I would fail. However my oldest two kids and myself are a pretty good team, and keep our house running smooth on the surface. I wanted to try and follow this program to dig a little deeper and organize it deep down to the bones.

OK so this is how I made this work (albeit not perfectly everyday).

COLOR CODING, yes that was my answer. I used simple highlighters to assign each item on the list to either myself, Jam or Boo.

Yellow for Mom, Orange for Jam and Pink for Boo!

I added schoolwork and swim practice just to keep things all in one place. (However we do use an online planning system for our home-school tracking) It was a good way to keep things visually together.

My house on the surface looks great. We clean our bathrooms thoroughly once a week, and wipe it over whenever it is needed. We dust weekly, and vacuum when it looks like it needs it. I bug the kids to keep their rooms tidy (they do a pretty good job now they each have their own room) and the clean laundry doesn't stay folded in the basket too long. However I truly believe that there is always room for improvement. I noticed that the schedule covers things that I put off or forget completely until they are bad enough to scream 'CLEAN ME' because they have gotten too bad (like the refrigerator!) Following this check list I have even managed to remember to cut Little J's nails before he scratches someone and I have to do it out of necessity. 

The printable e-book is available in different formats. Black and white, color, planner, chore organizer, half size or full page, and even one that includes a daily scripture reading chart. You can see all of the choices here

I chose the simplest planner - half page, week to a page, chore chart. I printed it off, laminated the front and back covers, and then bound it myself with my plastic spirals. It prints on 29 pages when cut in half it makes  53 weekly planning pages and a two week meal planner.

We keep this in the kitchen, and refer to it 'most' days. I have to say 'most' because we are definitely not perfect. However I have realized that the chores will come back around, so I try not to beat myself up if we have 'one of those days' and just start fresh the next day.

I don't have an iPhone or iPad but I think I would really like to try this in app form. I may consider the android app for next year (when I have finished my printed version). However it would be hard to divide the chores up between the kids and this would probably see me fail, so maybe the printed version would still be better for us!

The Half size chore planner black and white costs $8.00 and is designed for Mom's to use (but of course anyone who wants to be more organized can use it).

If you want to learn more about the app or how others used the planner click on this link below.


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https://www.facebook.com/motivated.moms
https://twitter.com/momoplanner

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First Day March 1st

I completely forgot about my first day pictures...luckily I took three pictures. So I am going to add them anyway.

My older kids have decided that they need more practice with soft serve ice-cream. Little J asked us to learn out the lights because his ice-cream was melting.






Check out some more first day posts over at Journey To Josie.

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Gathering Threads - Litfuse Book Review

You have all heard about "Switched at Birth" stories. What if, you switched with a completely different life. Raised with comp...