Archive for March, 2012


Academic Success

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I think we all want our children to achieve academic success.  If we did poorly in school, we want our children to do better than we did, and if we did well, we still want better for their future.

Teaching phonemic awareness, building reading fluency, and strengthening comprehension starts a child on the road to academic success.  The Reading for All Learners Program, featuring the Little Books, has more than 30 years of research behind it.



Click the graphic to view Product Previews


The company, Academic Success for All Learners, tags the books as – “Little Books making a big difference!”  They have been used around the world for generations.  You may have learned to read using these books.  Many people actually recognize the readers as “I See Sam books.”  I See Sam is the title of the first book, in the first skill set.  There are 141 Little Books, in 8 color coded sets.  The reading instruction correlates to core curriculum.

It is recommended that the books be read consecutively, in numerical order, because new sounds and words that are introduced build on the sounds, words, and skills previously mastered.  Primarily written for Kindergarten through grade 3 or 4, they can also be used for struggling readers.  A single lesson takes only 15 – 30 minutes, with no prior teaching experience needed.

The Reading for All Learners program is highly esteemed.  If it were used consistently, as intended, I believe much of the illiteracy found in America, today, would be eradicated.  The stories are enjoyable and interesting, and students want to read them.




Click the graphic to view Little Books Set 7



The website  is easy to navigate.  It’s also full of information and support:


Instructor Guide – making it possible for practically anyone to teach


Scope and Sequence – listing what is covered when


Flash Cards – words to learn, for each book


Progress Tracking – a chart for every set of books


Placement Assessmenttesting, to help you determine where to begin


Little Book Anatomy – points out and explains the special features of a Little Book


And More…

Click the graphic to view Read to Succeed Gift Sets

After my son completed a Placement Assessment, I was directed to start him in the Little Books set 7.  The routine is the same for each book.  He should learn and review the sounds and words.  Master the Sound Practice and Word Practice before reading the book.  Then, read the story twice, making two mistakes or less by the second reading.  The Learner’s Chart is provided for each set of Little Books.  The student may color a picture or place a sticker over it, to track each book, in the set, that has been read successfully.  Color matched certificates are available to celebrate the completion of a set!

Looking Back is a section designed to test retention and mastery.  It usually occurs after every 5 or 6 books.  Passing/Failing criteria is listed at the bottom of the reading page.  If the student doesn’t pass, they are encouraged to reread the previous several books to hone their skills.  If a Looking Back assessment is passed, the student moves on to the next book.

The constant, steady rhythm of this program works well for my son.  So well, in fact, that I plan to have my daughter do the assessment, so I can gauge the best placement for her.  It’s $30 for each set of books, but I can reuse any set, with any of my children, increasing the value of my investment.  We’ll see whether or not this particular structure is good for her, too.


My crew mates used different sets of Little Books, and you can find their reviews by clicking the TOS graphic below.

Comments or Questions?

Contact :

Email ~

Call ~


or Write ~

Academic Success For All Learners

131 North 1175 West #5

Logan, Utah  84321


Direction and Encouragement:

View ~

Model Lessons on YouTube

Read ~

Dr. Alan Hofmeister’s blog posts

@ Effective Instruction for All

and Follow on ~


In my opinion, everyone should have the opportunity to learn to read, and to read well, if they choose.





A trial period of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thank you for your comments!

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.


Categories : homeschool, Reading, reviews, TOS
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Maintaining Biblical Standards

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I don’t read every book that my older children read, now.  When they were younger I did.  Still, I am mindful of what they’re reading, what music they’re listening to, what movies they’re watching, and who their friends are.  I know their friends by name.  I trust my children, at this age, to make wise choices, following the standards we’ve set, in their reading material, music, viewing habits, and relationships.  They also keep themselves accountable.  I can pick up the current book they’re reading, borrow their MP3 player at any time, go to the movies with them, or sit in on one of their gatherings. 

There are organizations, and companies that assist me, as a parent, in maintaining the Biblical standards that my husband and I set for our family.  They’ve put the time and effort into watching, listening, or reading, and reviewing for me.  Many of these are run by other parents, with similar standards, like Progeny Press.




Progeny Press was started in 1992, and is still family owned and operated.  They present good literature, teaching good literary analysis, measuring all things in the light of Scripture.  There are now more than 100 Study Guides available to instruct writers and readers in grades K – 12.


Study Guides can be found for Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

They can be purchased Book-bound, PDF on CD, or email with attached PDF file.  The content is the same, no matter the form of delivery.

From $10.99 single guide to $27.99 book/CD set.

I have students using the Middle School Study Guide for The Cay, by Theodore Taylor –

“Eleven-year-old Phillip lives with his parents on an island off the coast of Venezuela in 1942, but when the Nazi’s begin torpedoing ships nearby, Phillip’s mother insists that he and she return to the United States. Their ship is torpedoed by a Nazi submarine long before they reach the U.S., however, and Phillip finds himself marooned on an island with an old, but strong, black deckhand named Timothy. But when Phillip goes blind from an injury, he slowly realizes how caring, wise, and resourceful Timothy really is, and the color of their skins is unimportant.”

AND other students using the High School Study Guide for The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis –

“Screwtape, an undersecretary in the Lowerarchy of Hell, has undertaken the guidance and tutelage of his nephew Wormwood, who has been assigned a human patient to secure for eternity. In a series of letters, Screwtape guides the young demon through the finer points of temptation, the weaknesses and foibles of human beings, and the disaster of his patient becoming a Christian. Though this certainly complicates things, the two infernal beings won’t let it stop them.

From this very skewed perspective, C. S. Lewis digs into the human nature, revealing some interesting, and sometimes embarrassing, tendencies. Touching on everything from sleeplessness to the “absurdity” of God’s love for humanity, Screwtape imparts his wicked wisdom to Wormwood. Though the mirror he holds up to humanity is warped and cracked, it is still painfully revealing. Wit and parody mask a very serious analysis of what makes humans tick; and though it may make readers smile, it will also make us squirm as Screwtape picks at the cracks in our facades.”

With each Study Guide, students need access to a good dictionary, a thesaurus, a Bible, and the internet or an encyclopedia.

It is suggested that the complete novel be read first.  We didn’t know how we felt about this, as opposed to reading the book and the guide together from the beginning, but it actually makes the use of the Study Guide a little easier.  I imagine the creators of the guides already knew this.  After reading the story, the student works through the guide with the book as a constant reference.

Prereading activities are offered –

  • Written report
  • Map work
  • Time line
  • Vocabulary
  • Art work
  • Biography


Each Study Guide covers relative information

  • Story Synopsis
  • About the Author
  • Background/Setting


Did I mention that Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature are interactive for 4th – 12th grade?  They can still be printed, if you like, but the student has the capability of placing answers directly on the PC and saving his work as he progresses.  The parent/teacher is able to grade the work in the same  manner, on the PC, and leave notes or comments.  My children love it!  Especially, my son, who would rather do nearly anything instead of writing.  The Study Guides are designed so he can clearly work through the questions and vocabulary, give his attention to critical analysis, dig deeper and consider the issues portrayed in the story, while viewing each through a consistent Biblical standard.  In his case, he can give complete answers, because his biggest obstacle is removed – he’s released from hand-writing and has the option to type.  Amazing!



Optional activities include –

  • Presentations
  • Volunteer work
  • Essays
  • Research
  • Interviews
  • Brief report
  • Word search


Final essays are provided and post reading activities are discretionary.  High School credits are obtained 1/4 credit per Study Guide in 8 – 12 weeks.


(4) Completed Study Guides = (1) H.S. Credit

Click the graphic below to browse the Progeny Press Catalog.



 If you would like more information, please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post.  Progeny Press has a website that’s easy to navigate.

Also, read other reviews, from The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew members.

Comments or Questions?  Go directly to the source –


Progeny Press

P. O. Box 100

Fall Creek, WI  54742


Toll Free  1.877.776.4369


Phone 715.877.9951 ext. 100


Email –


Follow on facebook


I have no doubt these will be the first of many Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature we’ll use.  Let me know which guide you choose, and what you think of it.



A trial period of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thanks for your comments. 

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



The Art of Argument

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I consider myself to be a logical person, but I have had no formal training in Logic.  I usually hold my own in a debate, if I am knowledgeable or passionate about a subject.  I’m comfortable making a sensible statement from my point of view.  Until recently, I didn’t realize that the art of reasonable argument can be taught.  I didn’t know that curriculum is available for teaching Logic, and that “mastery of logic is a requisite skill for mastering other subjects.”

The Art of Argument, is one of the exceptional studies offered by Classical Academic Press.  It teaches the ability to reason and to recognize poor reasoning.




It covers 28 fallacies of relevance, presumption and clarity, over 28 chapters.  This is an introduction to the informal fallacies.  It was designed with Junior High students in mind, but my older children, who have had no previous teaching in logic,  are learning the definitions and fallacies that are presented, as well.  The more they practice them, the quicker they are able to recognize them.

The publisher states that “fallacies are present on the political left and right (and in the middle) and in the arguments of people of all kinds of political, religious, and cultural viewpoints.  No one ‘school of thought’ is fallacy-free!”  We and our children are bombarded with political jargon, especially in this election year, advertisements and commercials, editorials, etc.  Having the skills to wade through the swamp of errant information and clearly identify the flawed arguments is critical to finding the truth.

We have not completed this course, but we already utilize what we have learned.   We have more awareness of the need to filter and evaluate what we hear, plus we’re learning to use the tools of detection and analysis that we’ve been given.  Yes, I said weI am learning to be even more logically reasonable in my arguments  discussions.  Jokingly, my husband is not amused, as he already believed my talents have been wasted and I should have become a lawyer.  I reason that I’d do well to take advantage of learning logic now, making sure my children don’t get ahead of me!



Classical Academic Press offers classical curricula and media in Latin, Spanish, Greek, French, Logic, Bible and Poetry. They back their products with a 30-day money back guarantee.



 The Art of Argument student book is a workbook – text and discussion, questions and essays.  It is $21.95.

The Teacher’s Edition, includes the complete student text, answer keys, quizzes and tests, for $24.95.

A set of 5 DVD’s, teaching videos to complement The Art of Argument, is available for $54.95.

Although, I have not been familiar with the teaching of Logic, I see the value of it, and we will pursue it.  I found it somewhat difficult to teach, probably because of my lack of familiarity, and the children thought it was dry.  We tend to follow a living school  or school-of-life system of learning, and The Art of Argument doesn’t seem easily adaptable.  If it is something you are interested in, I suggest you examine the CAP curriculum.  Their focus is “clear design and structure, incremental and systematic instruction, all with a touch of delight, creativity and flair.”

For your convenience, I’ve provided links throughout this post that you can follow for more information.  You’ll also find my crew mates reviews by clicking on the TOS graphic, below.

Comments or Questions?


Classical Academic Press
3920 Market Street
Camp Hill, PA 17011


Toll Free: 866-730-0711
Phone: 717-730-0711


and follow on facebook

Euripides is credited with saying, “reason can wrestle and overthrow terror.”  Maybe he knew The Old Testament Scripture, Isaiah 41:10, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Seems logical to me.




A trial period of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.





*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



Categories : homeschool, Logic, reviews, TOS
Comments (1)

It’s a New Day!

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Wow, so much has changed since I began teaching my children at home, back in the dark ages, or so it seems some days.  When we began homeschooling there were few companies that wrote or published curriculum geared toward the unique needs of educating at home.  Now, not only are there several companies on board and promoting materials for homeschool use, but there are also online programs being created for this vast community.  It’s a new day for home education!

K5 Learning is an outstanding, online reading and math enrichment program!


Click the K5 graphic above for Sample Lessons 

Geared for Kindergarten through Grade 5, it is a student paced, individualized learning program, based on skill level, not grade level.  Even in light of other online programs we have used, my children agreed that K5 Learning is consistently challenging, but not frustratingly impossible.  I like it because it has repeated spoken instructions allowing even young students to work independently.

There are 1,500 reading tutorials with more than 3,000 activities, and over 1,200 math lessons and activities.  These are not random.  They are sequenced lessons that prompt continued mastery of the subject.  Each session is a 5-10 minute tutorial, then practice, and quiz over new material.


 Click graphic above for Math details

K5 Math is comprehensive.  It covers – Numbers & Operations, Geometry, Measurement, Algebra, and Data Analysis.  The Math Facts encourage “instant recall of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division tables.  Unlike computerized drill programs, K5 Math Facts does not generate questions randomly.  It records every response a child makes, continually analyses what facts your child has mastered or need further practice at, and generates questions based on that child’s needs.  This makes K5 Math Facts far more efficient at teaching math facts than a typical drill program.”

Click Math Facts graphic above to view demo

The Reading Enrichment encompasses Reading Curriculum & Comprehension, Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, Sight Words, Vocabulary, and Spelling.  K5 Spelling has a 150,00 word database, and “is far beyond your typical online spelling program.”

Additionally, K5 Learning keeps parent’s up-to-date with regular student progress reports.

Subscription rate:

per year – 1st child $199

additional child $129

per month – 1st child $25

additional child $15

K5 offers a 14-day FREE TRIAL that includes a reading assessment and a math assessment.

Click assessment graphic above for more information.

My crew mates have shared their opinions and you’ll find them by clicking the graphic below and following the link.

Comments or Questions?


phone – 888.281.2145

 write –

K5 Learning

510-4438 West 10th Avenue

Vancouver, British Columbia

V6R 4R8

or facebook

I’m excited about the new options for home educators and I think you will be, too!  Please, follow the links I’ve provided and browse the K5 Learning website.  Let me know what you think.


A trial period of this product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thanks for your comments.



*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.



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Eggsceptional Reading!

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“The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

In our house we read.  I read to gain knowledge and for personal enjoyment.  As a parent, I read to my children.  My older children read for themselves but they are also encouraged, from a young age, to read to their younger siblings. I read to the family, chapters at a time, as a series, instead of watching TV.  The younger children see us with books, they hear stories of adventure, courage, excitement, and mishap.  They can sit in their bedroom and be in Africa on a safari, at the same time, or sit in the living room, together, and travel back in time to a Little House on the PrairieAll of this cultivates a desire in the young ones to want to read on their own.

Reading Eggs is an eggsceptional  interactive, online reading program.



This program is developed by teachers, educational writers, animators, and web designers.  It is built on a core curriculum of skills, using a sequential series of lessons.  The focus of Reading Eggs is for children ages 4-7, with the addition of Eggspress geared for 7-13 years old.  There are over 100 lessons available now, plus they continue to grow.  The brand new Storylands opened March 2, 2012, with the first 20 lessons of Clinker Castle!  My son agrees this is a big deal!



My youngest daughter loves Reading Eggs!


Map of lessons and eggs waiting to be hatched.

Her personalized, eggsploring avatar walks through Reading Eggs World as she works her way through lessons and quizzes.  Upon completion of a set of lessons, she is rewarded.  Special eggs hatch and reveal a new critter that is added to the zoo.  The program is student-paced.  If there is any difficulty understanding or retaining a lesson it can be repeated as many times as necessary, with no penalty or negative judgement.

Lesson activity – put the words in the correct order to form a sentence.

Songs, games, educational activities, and golden egg rewards, make for eggstra FUN!

Game time!

There is an Assessment Test available for each child.  40 questions, that will determine the best place to start your student.  My son is happy being an Eggpress eggsplorer!

An Assessment Test question

He says the animation is eggscellent!  The lessons are fun, but he is still challenged and he’s learning!  There are many stories of fact and fiction that keep his attention.  Just like his sister, he enjoys furnishing a house for his avatar, shopping, and generally playing in the Reading Eggs World.

An Eggspress comprehension test question.

I like the parent’s reports that I receive, keeping me up to date on their progress and accomplishments!  I eggspect to use Reading Eggs for years, especially because they eggspect to continue to expand and improve.


Don’t just take my word for it.  Follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post and investigate their website.  You can also read other reviews by my crew mates, when you click the TOS graphic below.

And Reading Eggs offers a 14 day free trial!


Subscription costs:

$75.00 year

$49.95 6 months

$9.95 per month with the option to cancel anytime


Comments or Questions?


email –


phone – 1.877.661.4898



This product was given to me, free of charge, in exchange, for my honest review, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Thanks for sharing your comments.

*Contents of this blog are copyrighted;  they are the property of Knee Deep In Grace and may not be used without written permission.





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