Archive for October, 2012


Cultivate a Love of Reading

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No doubt my often-mentioned-love-of-reading came from my mother.  It is one of the most important things I’ve wanted to pass on to my own children.  I have been mostly successful, but not wholly.  I am still searching for that elusive author or subject that finally holds the attention of a couple of my older readers.  I believe the earlier you’re able to immerse your child in the world of reading the more likely it is that they’ll embrace it for a lifetime.  No guarantees though, because I do have a reluctant reader and he was raised with read-alouds and access to books just like his siblings.  It really is true that every child is different.  Comparatively, my youngest daughter is one of the easy ones.  She learns quickly, her retention is good and she has a desire to read.  It will be interesting to see what genre she enjoys most as she gets older.

One of my mother’s favorite authors, and therefore one of mine, was Ray Bradbury.  He was a leading science fiction writer and author of more than 500 works.  I distinctly remember reading The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Fahrenheit 451.  Mr. Bradbury is quoted as saying, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them.”  Books can connect us to the history of our past and the possibilities of our future.



I was really excited when I saw this, because my mother used to tell me basically the same thing and I’ve said it to my children hundreds of times over the years!  I copied this from Samson’s Classroomfacebook page.   They get it, and they want their young readers to get it, too!  Reading opens doors and windows, hearts and minds; and worlds of wonder.  Samson’s Classroom wants to give your child the key to unlock it all.



Samson’s Classroom is a web-based educational software program, focusing on Spelling, Sight Words and Reading Comprehension. It is out of the ordinary though, because “it is an umbrella product that is really many products rolled into one. The purchase of any product under that umbrella automatically gives you access to every other product. Even better, new product releases and upgrades are added to your package at no additional cost.”  Presently, you’ll find:  Spelling with Samson, Read with Samson, and Sight Words with Samson, designed for grades K – 5.

Sight Words with Samson starts at the beginning of reading and teaches spelling as the child advances through the grade levels, mastering 224 words along the way.  So often in the past, my children learned to read but were poor spellers; so I especially appreciate this aspect of the program.  Spelling with Samson draws from a vault of over 5,000 words for student games and drills.  The parent/teacher can also organize/create personal spelling lists.  Read with Samson concentrates on reading comprehension.  Students are tested on the passages of text they read.  Thanks to a new instant feedback system the child has a second chance to get a correct answer, if they were incorrect the first time.  The correct answer is highlighted in the text, too.  I noticed that this encouraged my daughter that it was okay to refer back to what she had just read for better understanding.

Samson’s Classroom has great graphics!  It is interesting, motivating and engaging!  One of their motivational tools is the belts a student acquires as they build their Sight Word knowledge.  My daughter says, “My favorite thing about Samson’s Classroom is getting belts like the real-life TaeKwonDo belts.”  It’s motivation that works!  The student moves up the belt ladder and can eventually become a Sight Words with Samson Black Belt Master.  She also said, “I like the spelling.  They start me with easy words and sentences, review with me until I’m sure I really know the words.  It makes me feel smart and like I can read anything! After I spend time with Samson, I want to try to read bigger and harder books to see what I learned.”  Because of the Student Tracking feature, I can see the progress she’s making without having to stand over her every minute.

Samson’s Classroom is an affordable asset to our reading curriculum.  $30 for 1 student – home use, $50 for a family of 4 or $80 for a classroom subscription with up to 30 users.  Find out what my Crew mates think of this program when you click the banner below.



I hope you’ll take a few minutes to follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post and browse the website.  They have more information, a short video and free demo available, too.

Comments or Questions?

Contact –

call 518.356.0039



242 Union Street

Suite 2A

Schenectady, NY  12305


Disclaimer*   I received access to this program in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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 : Family
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Focus on Reading

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Did you know that there are people that don’t like to read?  It actually makes me sad to think of the joy that I get from reading, that they are robbed of because they don’t like it.  How frustrating though, to have letters that constantly flip around so the words don’t really make sense, to feel like you have to chase the words or sentences as they float off the page; or to reread the same sentence time-and-again because you keep losing your place.  Focus is one of the keys to reading.

The Schoolhouse Review Crew  recently had the opportunity to use Reading Rulers from an award-winning company that specializes in multisensory teaching resources – Crossbow Education.


When you visit their website you will find that they carry several tools designed to help you create a learning environment that promotes student achievement, especially for those with Dyslexia and Visual Stress.


They have Sand Timers, Magnetic Foam Letters, Junior Learning Products for Reading, Spelling, and Math, Activities and Games for Phonics; and  More – including the Eye Level Reading Ruler.

Reading Rulers  are made of durable, color-tinted plastic; and able to underline and highlight about six inches of text at a time.  Text is read through the transparent color.  Each Ruler is small and convenient to carry, or keep in a book used as a book mark.  “Reading Rulers reduce page glare, dancing, blurring text and other symptoms, while also providing valuable tracking support for reading.”  They are available with duo reading windows – one is 1/2″ wide and the other is 1 1/4″ wide – to aid in reading a single line of oversize text, two smaller lines of text or a short paragraph.

Reading through color can have life changing effects, with the possibility of significantly improving reading speed and even comprehension.  Students seem to respond well to the lack of over stimulation when the white background that reflects light is tinted with the transparent colored overlay.

Studies have shown that students need a spectrum of colors to choose from, to find the one that best meets their individual needs.

Crossbow Education has a Pack of 10 Eye Level Reading Rulers for $16.95.  It is their most popular package, because it allows a student to examine each color, choose the one that offers the most benefit; and then order just that color.

 Pack of 10 Colors – Pink, Celery, Sky, Magenta, Grass, Yellow, Aqua, Purple, Orange; and Jade

None of us chose the same color, so we don’t have to share our rulers.  Which is good, because we’ve found we don’t want to share our Reading Rulers.  For extensive reading they truly seem to reduce eye strain, and we like the dual window choices.  My younger reader says she can focus so much better on her line-for-line reading.  It’s increased her speed and built-up her confidence!


If you’d like more information, have questions or comments – you can Contact  Crossbow Education through their website; and read the Crew reviews by clicking the banner below.




Disclaimer*   I received a copy of this product in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.





Flowers of Blessing

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My youngest son came through the door with an enthusiastic grin on his face.  He’d been gone a few hours helping his dad on a job.  Before I could say, “Hello” or ask how his morning had been, he asked, “Hey Mom, daisies are your favorite flower, right?”  I hadn’t noticed his hands behind his back until that moment.  “Yes, sir. They certainly are,” I replied with a note of anticipation.  “Here, I got this for you!” he said as he handed me the loveliest flower in the prettiest vase he’d been able to find.

“He loves me.  He loves me not…” 

Clearly, he loves me and I am one blessed momma!

Blessings to you and yours,

#Wendy’s  #Raising Boys to be Men  #Daisies

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


Categories : blessings, Family, Nature, Photos
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Going BACK to School

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No doubt, I am one of thousands of stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) that have looked into various ways to add income into their household, while staying at home on a daily basis raising my young children.  No doubt, the state of our U.S. economy and the current rate of unemployment has encouraged many people to go back to school for training that might make them more employable upon graduation.

National Tax Training School is “the nation’s only nationally accredited correspondence school specializing in tax training…”  It is “a comprehensive tax course – especially developed for home study.”



I am currently enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course. The “objectives of this course are that on its completion, the student will be:

– Able to define and show an understanding for the tax terminology used on federal tax returns and be

– Familiar with the tax laws required to successfully gather the documentation and information necessary to prepare individual tax returns.”

After I complete this course with a passing grade, I should have the knowledge I need to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer (RTRP) Exam.  Once I pass that exam, I can more easily do my own tax returns, work for a company preparing tax returns for other individuals or small businesses; or even start my own tax practice!  I am on schedule to complete this course the beginning of 2013, so I probably won’t be established on time to work through the upcoming tax season and that’s a disappointment; but I’m excited about my future possibilities.

It has been many years since I was in school and my greatest challenge with the Federal Income Tax Course has been setting and maintaining a consistent time for my personal study.  I teach and I study to prepare to teach, but I haven’t been back to school for 30 years.  In my enthusiasm, I had hoped to earn my Certificate of Graduation in the 8 – 10 week time frame that many students follow; but I quickly realized it wasn’t feasible for me.  Although the material is written in non-technical language, making it fairly easy to understand, it still takes me 2 – 3 readings sometimes to feel like it’s clear.  I don’t want to miss a thing!  Needless to say, this has extended the suggested 8 hours of study time per lesson to an intensive 12 hours on occasion.  I do appreciate the fact though, that any “subject material that is irrelevant or of rare application has been omitted,” giving me the core of what I need to succeed in the least amount of time.  I’m grateful that ultimately students are given a whole year to complete the course, if necessary.

Shortly after I enrolled in the Federal Income Tax Course, everything I needed to begin was delivered to my home in a big, heavy box.  They are working toward having the entire course available online, and actually have the first 17 lesson modules, self-assessments and Unit Exams complete.  I haven’t used the online version, yet, but I have browsed it enough to see that it mirrors the contents of the physical course I have.  I think I’ll definitely use it to submit my Exams.

Your Enrollment Fee covers and includes:

– The Complete Text Material, in an overwhelming 3 inch binder.  It is a clearly written, step-by-step text with practical examples, real-life illustrations and sample computations over 20 in-depth lessons.

Self-Check Practice Problems allow you to pre-test yourself before your Unit Exam.

Examination Problems are open-book check-ups of the knowledge gained.

Instruction & Grading Service.  Completed Exams are mailed to NTTS where they are reviewed and graded, corrected and commented on by an instructor if needed.

Practical Case Studies.  You can practice and test what you’re learning using real-life case studies.

Building and Operating a Successful Tax Practice Book is nearly 300 pages of How-To set-up and efficiently run a profitable, professional tax practice.

Reference Book – The RIA Federal Tax Handbook, more than 800 pages, divided into 5059 numbered paragraphs; that answer tax questions and resolve tax problems that may arise when preparing federal tax returns.

A Graduation Certificate marking successful completion of the course.

And Postgraduate Services.  You are assigned an experienced expert in accounting and tax preparation procedures throughout your course and after completion for a period time designated by your choice of enrollment options.

No previous accounting, bookkeeping or tax knowledge is needed to take this course.  It “has been designed to give the student a clear picture of the over-all tax structure” and working knowledge of tax laws and procedures, not just the mechanics of filling-in-the-lines of a tax form.  The student is taught the reason-why behind the regulations, etc.  Because of this, I definitely feel like I have a better understanding and retention of the material.

National Tax Training School has been teaching and exclusively training tax preparers since 1952.  I have the utmost confidence in them and I’m actually looking forward to tax season!  I think the $495 enrollment fee is a good value and investment for my future.

If you have questions or comments you can contact  National Tax Training School through their informative, easy-to-navigate website.

Several of my Crew mates have had the opportunity to use the Federal Income Tax Course and you can read their reviews when you click on the banner below.

I’m hoping this course will be the answer to some of our financial needs.  I’ll let you know how it’s going as I continue to study.


Disclaimer*   I received a copy of this course in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.




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I wish I could say that cancer has never touched my life, but I can’t.  Actually, it touched my life before I was even born.  My father’s younger brother died of cancer, when he was still in his teens.  I never met him, but I was named after him.  I’m proud of my name and I wish I’d known my uncle.


I am the oldest child in my family.  I have sisters and I had one dearly loved brother.  At 30 years of age, he died of cancer.  He had a beautiful wife, a toddling young son and a baby girl that didn’t make her grand appearance until several months after he was gone.  He worked hard for the M.D. after his name and barely had a chance to use it.  We adored him and our hearts ache for what might have been.


My brother, before he was diagnosed with cancer, and his son.

The daughter he never met and his growing boy, nearly a year after his death.  They’re both teenagers now.


To me, my husband’s sister, my sister-in-law was most recognizable in her roles as wife, mother and art teacher.  I saw her as bright, capable, loving and healthy.  Out of all of us, she always made a conscious effort to take care of her body.  She died of cancer.  The mother in me has wept every time her sons accomplished a goal or achieved a milestone, because she wasn’t here to celebrate with them.  She’s missed graduations, marriages and the births of her grandsons.  I don’t know what they miss most about her, but I miss her laughter and her smile.


My Ma, Gramma to my children and Mom to my husband, died of cancer 9 years ago.  It’s true what they say, that children won’t remember the dirty dishes in the sink, the piles of laundry waiting to be folded or the clutter.  Everything good about her life has been magnified with time.  The way the house looked sometimes, as I was growing up, is truly insignificant. The memories that last are memories of homemade finger-paints, pulling weeds together in the garden, and learning how to sew a straight stitch.  I hold close the memories of making paper dolls and Play-Doh creations, reading out loud, singing hymns and swingin’ to the “Oldies.”   When my daughter wants to play with my hair and “make it beautiful,” I have a flash of memory, brushing my mother’s long hair and “making it pretty”  -with barrettes and bows and bobbie pins, oh my!  I clearly recall the miles apart and hours on the phone together, laughter and tears; stern scoldings and warm embraces.  My memories say she was the most generous, had the biggest heart, and loved the deepest of any woman I’ve known.  My memories shout that taking the time to make memories with my own children is one of the greatest secret treasures my Ma ever shared with me!  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, remember; and love her all the more.


There are many types of cancer.  There are days, weeks and entire months designated to the increased awareness of the disease.  It is an education I wish none of us ever needed, but one that we must embrace for lives to be saved.


Please, click the graphics for a complete list of Cancer Awareness Months and ways that you can help.


The American Cancer Society is devoted to raising awareness and funds to find a cure.  They offer information on prevention, early detection, research, support, and treatment.


In 2011, it was “reported (by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) that more than 230,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 40,000 will die of the disease.”

OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am so thankful for the survivors in my life.  Their faith, vulnerability and strength; courage and determination inspire me.  My beautiful, young niece is one of them.  She continues to write about her journey through breast cancer and life, offering encouragement and education; and building awareness at Pretty Pink Packages online.  She is an incredible woman and has given much of herself to others.


I hope all is well with you and yours.




*Contents and photographs 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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A Foundation for Thanksgiving

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Every Thanksgiving I am abundantly blessed to gather with my immediate family, extended family and friends in celebration of all God has done for us and our country.  This year my children and I will have a deeper more thorough understanding of one of the most important times in America’s history, thanks to Dayspring Christian Academy and The Pilgrim Story.



If you’ve already watched the short clip above or clicked on the links I included then you have an idea of what The Pilgrim Story is about and you know that the cost of the course is $99.  What you don’t know is that, if it is possible to fit this into your budget, it is well worth it!

This is a self-guided, self-paced, interactive online course.  This means that after you enroll you will have access within 48 hours, and then for the following 6 months you can view it whenever it’s convenient for you.  It doesn’t meet at a specified time.  This has been a huge bonus for my family!  Technically it is designed for grades 3 – 6, but the writer, Mary Stauffer, has led over 20 guided tours of Plymouth, Massachusetts using “the words of our country’s forefathers to teach the Pilgrim’s Story” and I personally believe students of all ages can gain insight from this study.  I’ve been able to use this course myself, ahead of my younger children, because I wanted to and not because it is a necessity.  I’ve only had to assign it to my older ones and nothing else is required from me.  They don’t even have to view it at the same time or at a designated time each day.  They have the freedom and flexibility to fit it in and around their individual schedule.



The heart of Dayspring Christian Academy is Psalm 78:1-8.  “It is important for children to learn about their history, so they do not forget the great things God has done.”

The Pilgrim Story teaches and preserves the truth of our nation’s past.  It highlights the Pilgrim’s dedication as Christians, well-grounded in The Word of God.  It clearly displays God’s hand of providence in their lives and the life of our country.  It reinforces the fact that “this nation has enjoyed freedom because it was founded on principles found in The Bible.

Because Dayspring Christian Academy teaches using The Principle Approach of Learning, there are Principles of Christian Character and Biblical Principles of self governance, hard work, perseverance and Christian Liberty throughout the presentation.  The course is organized in 5 Units of 3 or 4 Lessons each, with a Virtual Field Trip to Plymouth, MA at the end.  Each Lesson is 30 – 45 minutes long, plus an optional 60 – 90 minute Enrichment Activity.  

A Lesson consists of:

  • items needed for activities
  • documents to download
  • description of contents
  • review of previous lessons
  • vocabulary words
  • a student worksheet for notes
  • enrichment activities
  • lesson review and
  • suggestions for further reading


A Student Notebook is a key component of The Principle Approach and is a valuable record of their learning.  You’ll need a 1-inch binder and 5-tab dividers, one for each Unit.


Unit 1 – Introduction

Unit 2 – Preparation

Unit 3 – The Journey

Unit 4 – The First Winter

Unit 5 – 1621 – 1623


I copied the list of Recommended Books, chose which ones I wanted by grade level and then requested them from my library ahead of time.  Open Source Books, with free online access, are also listed.  Reasoning Questions for Writing Practice or Oral Presentation are included, along with Answer Keys, Grading Rubrics, and Activity Guides.  Review Questions provide a great Recall Assessment and there is a Unit Test at the end of each unit.  Dayspring Christian Academy will actually grade, record and maintain the Unit Test grade for one student, when the multiple-choice test is taken.

I do wish the video clips were closed-captioned, so my students would have the added benefit of reading along with the narrator, otherwise I am absolutely thrilled with The Pilgrim Story and the knowledge we’ve gained!



Comments or Questions?




Dayspring Christian Academy

120 College Avenue

Mountville, PA  17554

or Call – 717.285.2000


Also note that several of my Crew mates had the opportunity to review this course and you can read their opinions when you click the graphic below and follow the link provided.



I hope your Thanksgiving is especially blessed this year.



Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to The Pilgrim Story, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.




% Off KinderBach

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In appreciation of my KinderBach review and those written by my Schoolhouse Review Crew Mates,

KinderBach is offering our readers 30% Off any order –

homeschool, classroom, online, or DVD’s

when you use Coupon Code: TOS_crew2012.

[This code expires 12/31/12]


Also, the KinderBach App is on sale this Friday, October 19th, 2012 only.

The App will be discounted over50%,down to $12.99!

No code is needed, just the link to the Classroom KinderBach App in the App Store:

Thanks KinderBach!

#kinderbach  #hsreviews  #discount #homeschool



Disclaimer*   I received no additional compensation for posting this discount information.  I am a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew but the opinions expressed here 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.


Music to My Ears

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After many years of steadfast prayer fueled by constant desire, some of my children are now receiving music instruction from a local school of Fine Arts.  I don’t know how long we’ll have the opportunity, but with this gang we presently qualify for a big-family rate; so it’s affordable.  I appreciate the balance, as I see it, in their education; with Bible, academics, music & art, home management and community service.  I like being able to introduce my children to different things to find their level of interest and their natural bent.  A couple of my younger ones are actually starting out ahead of my older ones, thanks to KinderBach.



Karri Gregor is the creator, illustrator and teacher of KinderBach Piano Lessons.  She believes that children do not have to read to be able to learn to play piano or read music.  She has designed characters that help her students remember the piano keys, notes and the staff; instead of letters making words that must be read.  KinderBach is bright, colorful, fun and engaging!  Designed for ages 3 – 7, my younger children gained a foundation in music before they even realized they were taking lessons.


  • Music Theory
  • Note Reading
  • Rhythm
  • Music Vocabulary
  • Ear Training
  • Hand Position
  • Do, Re, Mi Singing
  • and More!


Click the graphic to view an informative video of KinderBach at Home.


The characters are endearing to children.  My youngest daughter was introduced to KinderBach around 6 years old, but was enthusiastic about using the online program again because of her affection for several of the characters.  You might also notice older siblings picking up instruction and building their own foundation in music from being in the same vicinity where the program is being viewed, because the lessons are lively and entertaining.  My preteen son says, “The story and songs stick in your head and then your brain recalls the pictures and instruction that is originally taught.  I know things about music that I didn’t even know I knew!”


Click to see the full cast of characters.


There’s ample material covered over 6 levels with 10 lessons each and 4 sessions in each lesson.  Yes, that’s a total of 240 sessions of private, in home music lessons!  Lessons are child-paced.  They can be watched and watched again, at no extra cost, when your daughter gets stuck on a favorite session or two like mine did.  The hands on activities thoroughly reinforce the lessons, making this a complete curriculum.  My daughter especially enjoyed attaching the little finger cues to her fingers, following the prompts and playing the piano.  I laminated the paper finger puppets so she could use them more than once, because they really encouraged her to strive for the goal of eventually playing without them.  Children quickly learn to play music that they recognize.




 A Year Online Membership gives you web access to all sessions by computer, iPad/iPhone, Android, Tablet, Kindle Fire or Nook; plus downloadable PDF activity pages that accompany lessons.  The best value is $7.99 a month for an annual subscription – billed in one payment of $95.88.

The TOS Crew previously had the opportunity to review KinderBach, but this time some of my Crew mates were given the chance to use the new iPad/iPhone App that’s available for Levels 1 – 3.  “App lessons can be purchased one at a time, or at a reduced rate for an entire level.”  The keyboard that’s needed for the lessons is on the screen, plus six mini-games are unlocked as you purchase more lessons.  The added convenience of education-on-the-go for just $26.99.  I’ll definitely be reading their reviews!

The entire curriculum is still available in a DVD & CD Activity Package, per levelfor the one-time charge of $40.45 each.  Value Packages are available, too!  What grabbed my attention is the fact that every disc has a “lifetime replacement”  included in KinderBach’s exceptional 30-day Money Back Guarantee!



Comments or Questions?

Contact  KinderBach  through the website.

Write:  KinderBach LLC, P.O. Box 181, Le Claire, Iowa 52753,

Call:  563.332.0587



Follow on facebook.


You can also read the numerous Crew reviews of the online program and the iPad app when you

click the graphic below ~


In addition, I have written two other reviews of KinderBach, and they can be found under the blog titles – Good Education and The Sound of Music.  This is a great program and I hope to use it with my grandchildren in the future.




Disclaimer*   I received 6 months online access to KinderBach, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.




What’s Black and White, and…

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What’s black and white and red all over?  Remember this one?  Okay, so it’s really what’s black and white and read all over?  A newspaper, of course!

What’s blue and red and eats rocks?  That’s simple.  A blue-and-red-rock-eater!  Now, what’s pink and green and eats rocks?  A pink-and-green-rock-eater, you say.  No way, I say, they only come in blue and red!

What’s fun, educational, motivating, interactive; and affordable?  No riddle here, it’s ZooWhiz!   The “online, curriculum based motivational learning system” with more than 17,000 educational activities for children ages 5 to 15.  Affordable?  Yes!  It’s Free, with a limited Keeper Account!



Want a Free Keeper Account?  Follow the Keeper Account link above, click Create a Free Keeper on the bottom left; and let your child choose a [Zoo] Keeper from a variety of pre-designed avatars.  These are all they have to choose from, at the moment, but my kids are hoping they’ll have a little more freedom in the future to design their own avatar Keeper.


Choose a Keeper


Once they’ve chosen their Keeper they sign in with their first name, or a code name if they’re anything like my son, and a parent’s email address to get permission to use ZooWhiz.  You can then use that same email to create a Free Parent Management Account, which will be connected to your child’s account; giving you the ability to keep up with his progress.

ZooWhiz is lively and engaging, with graphics that are bright, crisp; and bursting with energy!

Learn and Earn generates activities that move your child to practice math, reading, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling; and phonics according to the Age Floor you select for him, and earning coins for every correct answer given.  Two chances.  Answer the question correctly on the first try and you earn 20 coins.  If you miss it and try again you’ll still earn 10 coins with a correct answer.  Miss the answer and 10 coins are taken away and the correct answer is supplied.

The coins can then be spent in the Arcade, on games, or in the Biodome at the Zoo Animal Shop.  Keepers can choose from and collect many different animals, viewing them and learning more about them from a detailed flash-card-type graphic My children choose animal collecting 9 times out of 10, over playing games in the Arcade, and it is the highlight of the ZooWhiz online program!  It should be noted though, that the website says, “Create a Free Keeper Account and start building your very own zoo.”  This idea is compounded when you select the Biodome tab under Information for Kids, the opening tagline reads, “Enter the Biodome to choose your animals and build your very own zoo.”  As Keepers students build collections of animals, but there is no Zoo to build.  There is no place to organize or view the animals in a zoo-like setting, and there is no visiting or care giving.  My students, ages 8, 11, and 14, were all truly disappointed in this aspect of the program.  Milestones keeps track of student progress, and seeing progress is something we all need!


Click the graphic to see a full Animal List


  ZooWhiz is all about “reinforcing learning and rewarding effort!”

My 8-year-old says it is all about “fun, fun, fun!”



When you discover, as I did, that ZooWhiz is an outstanding supplement to your current curriculum, you can choose to upgrade to a Premium Zoologist AccountCurrently, a 1-year subscription is just $14.95.  Seriously.  I don’t know how long this dramatic savings will be available, but what-a-deal compared to the regular price of $59.95!  The Premium Zoologist Account entitles you, as the parent, to more management, anytime access; and detailed customization to your child’s age or learning pace.  The Premium Kid’s Account opens more games and an exciting choice of animals to collect, including rare, endangered, dinosaurs and mythological creatures.  My son earned and saved 5000 coins to add a Sasquatch to his collection!  That’s a lot of learning and this seems like an ideal place to slip in a “well done, Son!”


ZooWhiz has a website full of information.

I included several links to it throughout this post and I hope you’ll make use of them.

You can email your Questions and Comments through the Contact link,

or if you’re in the United States call – 1.866.215.4620.

You can also write to:  P.O. Box 658, Armidale, NSW, 2350, Australia;

or instantly connect on facebook.

My Crew mates are eager to share their ZooWhiz experiences with you, too.

You can read their reviews when you click the banner below and follow the link to the

Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.







Disclaimer*   I received 1 year access to a ZooWhiz Premium Zoologist Account, for three of my children, in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.




A Box of Ideas

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You might remember that I have an affection for Unit Studies.  The Unit Study Method of teaching allows me to incorporate every aspect of my focus topic, covering many subjects.  This method usually allows for a lot of hands-on learning, and often improves my child’s ability to transfer skills they learn during school to real-life situations.  Where do you get the ideas for activities that will enhance your student’s learning?  I might talk to another parent/teacher that has experience or an expressed interest in the theme of our study.  I have several home resources, an exceptional local library; and access to an array of online resources.  I have a standard bag-of-tricks, but my latest discovery is Box of IDEAs




There are not many boxes available, yet; but the future potential is great!  Designed for ages 9 – 16, with the flexibility for use with even younger or older students, each Box of I.D.E.As. is filled with topic-focused activities and information.  There are at least 10 modules per box that might include games, puzzles, portfolio pages, experiments and explorations, well researched web-links; and more.  All of the activities in the box are complete, but if any additional supplies are needed, like a pencil, they are listed on the module label and can be acquired before the module is even opened.

Presently, there is a Box of I.D.E.As. for World War Two, SALT, Laundry, Quilting; and the number Eleven, with Olives, Pine, and Cemeteries coming soon.  Supplementing our current study of Early America, the SALT Box of IDEAs fit well into our schedule.  The branch of interest I pursued was early means of food preservation, and there’s a module for that – Preserving with SaltAfter introducing the topic into our curriculum, I let the box of modules lead the way.  The “SALT Box of I.D.E.As. is a comprehensive look at salt and how it has helped shape history, nourish our bodies; and even build and destroy empires.”  We were prompted to dig into History, Geography, Science, Language, and Political Systems; while using math, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills among others.

Contents of the SALT Box of I.D.E.As.

The single most difficult thing about using Box of IDEAs was choosing which module to start with first!  So, I read the label on each module bag: Title, Contents, Materials Needed, and Related Quote; and pulled out the one that “struck my fancy.”

The Wall That Salt Built – “While most people know of the Great Wall of China, most people don’t realize that it was essentially paid for by salt.”

Salt of the Earth – “Although, most of the world’s salt comes from the US and China, there are salt producers in many countries around the world.”

Very Salty – “A plethora of hypersaline lakes exist all over the world.”

Need for Salt – “For human and non-human alike, if we didn’t have salt, we would cease to live.”

Nelson Mandela quote ~ “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”

Producing Salt – “Finding Salt – It is something we see and possibly use every single day, but where does it come from?”

Science of Salt – “Salt is the combination of two elements – both somewhat volatile.”

Preserving with Salt – “Pre-dating the birth of Christ, salt has been utilized to make food safe for future use through preservation.”

The Game of Preservation by Salt

Salt Peppers Our Words – “Salt provides the root for many commonly used words that proliferate still today.” The Salt March – “In March of 1930, Mahatma Ghandi chose to protest, peacefully, the salt tax.”

The History of Salt – “Salt has had a profound influence on human civilization from the beginning and in all parts of the world.”

(45) 2″X3″ Salt Timeline Cards, initially used with the Salt Chronology Game

This is one of the simplest systems I’ve ever used!  I could easily assign a module to one of my middle school or high school students for independent work.  Just take the module bag out of the box and begin.  I gather pencils and make copies of the portfolio page for each of my children participating in the activity.  I also have notebook paper available for copywork and expository writing.  I read the printed material out loud and we discuss the content.  Portfolio pages record lab results, ask fill-in-the-blank questions; and prompt essay writing, etc.  Each module includes a list of 3-4 Extensions that encourage delving deeper into the topic.  The Extension activities are varied and I tend to choose two out of a list.

Here are five of over 30 Extensions suggested:

  • Find references in The Bible to salt.  It is mentioned approximately 30 times, see how many you can find and make a list.
  • Watch the 1982 movie “Ghandi” which chronicles Ghandi’s life and fight for Indian independence.
  • Make your own solar evaporator using household items…
  • What happens if a person eats too much salt?  Set up an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician to talk about salt in your diet.
  • Pick one of the top salt producers and find out how much revenue salt production brings to that country.


As time allows, I have the older students follow selected Web-Links for additional reading and oral presentation.  I make age appropriate writing assignments to be done after we close the module.  We normally wrap-up with one of the games or card activities included in the Box of IDEAs.


Box of I.D.E.As. and their complete learning modules are an outstanding benefit to our homeschool, aiding in the retention and recollection of the topic matter covered.  I think it is a good value in the combination of physical materials supplied and the time saved with immediate access to the thorough research that’s already been done.  A physical Box of I.D.E.As. is $79 and printable PDF format is $49.


Comments or Questions?


Call – 333.506.9411


Write –

Box of IDEAs  LLC

7115 West Calla Road

Canfield, OH  44406


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My Crew mates have written reviews of two of the current boxes that are available from Box of I.D.E.As.SALT and World War Two – Pearl Harbor.   Click the banner below to read their well expressed opinions.









Disclaimer*   I received the physical SALT Box of I.D.E.As., in exchange for my honest review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review 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.




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