Archive for Online Learning

Oct
17

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?

 

Contact:

 

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.

 

Blessings,

 
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.

 

 

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Oct
15

% 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:

https://itunes.apple.com/app/classroom-kinderbach-school/id534998629?mt=8


Thanks KinderBach!


#kinderbach  #hsreviews  #discount #homeschool

Blessings,

 

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.

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Oct
15

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

 

and

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.

 

Blessings,

 

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.

 

 

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Oct
10

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.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

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.

 

 

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Sep
14

Revisiting Speekee

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Generally, life is so busy for everyone.  Have you noticed?  I try to keep ours fairly simple, but it still seems like it’s going to spiral out-of-control on occasion.  There are people at church or at the park that I meet and think, “I’d really like to get to know them.  We’ll have to make plans to get together.”  Then, life happens and the connections don’t.  There are old friends, relationships once established, and even acquaintances that I’d like to catch-up with because they cross my mind or I find them heavy on my heart. I pray for them, but I rarely make the time to call them. I have blog posts, products, and reviews I’d like to revisit, amend or update; but I seldom do it.  Maybe, it’s forward motion and I have a hard time going back or maybe, the truth is, my time’s just not as organized as it should be.  Nevertheless, none of these are situations that I like and I figure it’s up to me to make change occur in my own life.  I’m not going to wait until Monday or the ever-elusive-tomorrow.  Now is the only moment guaranteed, so…

Today, I want to revisit SpeekeeSpeekee is a Spanish language course for children, ages 2 to 10.  My initial introduction to Speekee, the purple puppet that stars in the program, was in the beginning of 2011.

 

Meet Speekee.

 

Since then, Speekee has made some changes.  Speekee TV is an online program, which means you have to connect to the web to use it, but now Speekee can travel!  Thanks to the creation of a new app for mobile devices, access to Speekee TVSpeekee and sock-puppet friends, Dino and Lupi – is never far away.

 

Dino and Lupi

 

There are 10 episodes filmed on location in Spain, with Spanish children and their friend, Jim; along with Speekee, Dino and Lupi.  Utilizing the Immersion Method, SpeekeeTV is in 100% Spanish, although subtitles are available in Spanish and English.  This helps me because I’m more of a write-the-word-and-its-phonetic-pronunciation-so-I-can-see-it, and then I’ll say it out loud -kinda girl; but my 4 year old granddaughter, who can’t read, is all-in.  She’s immersed in it, clearly not distracted by subtitles!  Each video, 15-20 minutes in length, follows the same basic format and students excel because of this consistency and repetition.  By the time she regularly visits the el parque, el cafe, le clase, el zoo; y el mercado with her new “friends,” she may be the first one in our family to actually learn the language.  Virtually, she spends minutes at the park, in Spain, playing and singing with Speekee; and then she bops back into the living room and says, “Listen to my Spanish song!  I’m singing Spanish.”  She’s excited to use Speekee and the learning is effortless!

~

Speekee TV is always available, flexible to any schedule; and parent or student-paced.  When I previously reviewed it, the outstanding FastTrack curriculum for homeschoolers was not an option.  You can now access FastTrack from the website or signup to receive a weekly email.  I get an email every week, for 40 weeks, that includes 4 activities that correspond to a specific Speekee video clip; plus other downloads, printable worksheets and flash cards that I can use for reinforcement.  One of the first activities we did was make Dino and Lupi sock puppets!  Every craft idea is not that involved, but they are fun and engaging.  We still have the freedom to pick and choose what we want to do, but I appreciate the fact that the creators of Speekee spent the time to assemble a curriculum that will accelerate my child’s and grandchild’s understanding and use of Spanish.  “Gracias, Speekee!”  This program is better than ever with the compliment of FastTrack.

~

Try it FREE for two weeks.  If you’re not satisfied within that time, you can discontinue it and you’ve risked nothing.  On the other hand, if you find your children asking to play Speekee and speaking Spanish to each other while they play, you can subscribe for $7.50 per month; with no long term commitment.  You can also go all-in, like my granddaughter, for $60 per year.

 

Click the banner to subscribe

 

The entire program is also available for purchase on 4 DVD discs, 34-track audio CD plus a 70 page guide.  Read the fine print – because of the format the DVD’s will play on most US players, but not all.

 

 Click for DVD Package details

~

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

 

email ~ customerservice@speekee.co.uk

phone ~ 01422 820263

or write ~

Lingua4 Ltd

Swift Cross Farm

Ripponden

Sowerby Bridge

HX6 4LQ

United Kingdom

~

 

You can find Speekee on facebook

 

 

and read Speekee’s Blog

You’ll note, I’ve included several links to the website in this post, and I can tell you that my Crew mates have shared their opinions on the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog.  You can read those when you click the banner below.


 

 

Now, I think I’ll call that new family from church and see if we can arrange a play-date for our children this weekend.  Don’t you just love the Grace of a new day and a fresh start!

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I received an online subscription to Speekee TV  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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Sep
07

A Lighter Burden

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Taking Galatians 6:2 literally it says, “Help carry each others burdens.  In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.”  Dr. Marion Blank‘s desire to end illiteracy motivated her to extensively research how children learn to read.  Her years of study has produced multiple books, including  The Reading Remedy, and the award-winning  Phonics Plus Five reading program.  Her direct contribution to my life has been through the online learning program that teaches children how to read and write to a third-grade level –

Reading Kingdom.

 

Click the banner to read Why It Works

 

Dr. Blank believes, “Phonics is THE path to reading.  It’s why children for generations have been taught to sound out the ABC’s once they enter first grade.  But traditional phonics is not enough.  It’s great to be able to figure out the sounds of words, but by itself, it makes reading unbearably slow and tedious.  At some point, sounding out has to switch over to instant word recognition.  That means doing what you are doing now – looking at words and immediately recognizing what they are saying.  And that skill also is not enough.  In fact, success in reading calls upon five other essential areas.”

 

 

Reading Kingdom vs Other Reading Systems

 

I have taught several children how to read, phonetically, and sometimes it has been more trying and less successful than other times.  Now, I have a better understanding of the process.  Reading Kingdom, designed for ages 4-10, begins with a skills survey for each child.  According to the results, they are placed in one of 6 levels:  pre-reading or a reading level 1-5, honing their skills with the mouse and keyboard; learning to recognize, read, spell and type words and sentences.  As one progresses through the levels the six skills necessary for reading are strengthened.

  • Sequencing
  • Motor Skills
  • Sounds
  • Meaning
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension

 

It is expected that a child will be reading, with confidence and enthusiasm, at a 3rd grade level with the completion of  Reading Kingdom.  Generally, this will take 12 – 18 months.  After the first few weeks, most children can navigate the program on their own.  Reading Kingdom allows me to share the responsibility of teaching my child how to read, making it a lighter burden and not nearly as overwhelming.  Because it is interactive, it customizes each lesson for my child.  Each 15-30 minute session teaches her reading, spelling, punctuation, and writing. 

 

 

 

 

I can watch her progress and clearly see her successes, and so can she.  Reader reports —what they’re doing, how they’re doing and what is coming up– are available to the parent and track a child’s progress.

 

 

Reading Kingdom is lively, appealing and inviting!  My child wants to play it, but it has not always been gumdrops and lollipops.  I’m pleased that it has raised her reading level, but I am also quietly thrilled that it has significantly improved her level of patience!  Let me explain.  To me, instant gratification is the bane of our culture.  Reading Kingdom requires my child to slow down, focus; paying attention to directions and details.  She must type when directed to type using the keyboard and click when instructed to click a letter on the screen.  The word focus has deeper meaning to her, now.  If she concentrates and responds correctly she can progress through the levels, but if she doesn’t know an answer or is just distracted the program will re-teach the word or concept; which can get quite repetitive.  I consider these simple but important life lessons.  Plus, the positive by-product of the repetition is that it inevitably builds her confidence.  Whereas, I appreciate these perks of the program; some parents do not.  Since I reviewed Reading Kingdom in 2011, one of the changes they’ve made to the program is the ability to adjust the response times for your child.  For some, this makes the difference between tears and smiles; or discontinuation and completion.  I think the best thing to do is to take advantage of Reading Kingdom‘s offer –  FREE for 30 days  –  and monitor the results for yourself.  It’s truly risk free!

 

 

Reading Kingdom is $19.99/month (one child) with no monthly minimum or $199.99 per year (one child).  Each additional child is $9.99 per month.  If you take the time to directly compare Reading Kingdom to other reading programs you might find that this one costs a few cents more per day, but you will also find that the benefits of Reading Kingdom, as one of the most complete reading programs available online, far out weighs the extra pennies.

 

 

Dr. Blank and her team are “passionate about promoting literacy and believe that every child has the right to learn to read.”  There is a scholarship application program set up, making literacy a hope for everyone.  If Reading Kingdom works for your child and you know he needs it to succeed, then ask for it!  “Nothing is impossible for God.”

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact through the website

~ or follow on Facebook 

 

 


Dr. Blank can also be reached through email:  BlankM@childpsych.Columbia.edu

 

 

Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post; and click the banner below to get a well-rounded view of Reading Kingdom  by what my Crew mates have to say about it.

 

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   Reading Kingdom gave me a generous, 1-year license 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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Aug
27

Making Time 4 Writing

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What do you make time for in your day to day life?  Work, devotions, music, God, family, education?  Generally, we make time for the things that we value.

One of our highest priorities is to make time for learning. Many subjects vie for the time that is available.  History, Science and Art are the easy favorites in our house, so we have to purpose to make time for the less desirable, Mathematics and Writing.  Time always seems to be in short supply.  I still teach my children how to look up a word in the dictionary, but I appreciate the ability to type that same word into a browser and have a definition in just seconds.  I appreciate crock-pot cooking, as opposed to standing over a stove, but I’m not fond of the microwave, even though it’s quick.  I appreciate time-saving choices.

One of my choices is  Time4Writing.  I think this is probably marketed as “Now is the Time 4 Writing,” but to me it is, “Helping you Make Time 4 Writing.”  Time4Writing provides 8-week, online writing courses with certified teachers.  Courses are available for Elementary, Middle School and High School/College Prep students, covering the basics through advanced essay writing, SAT essay writing and writing research papers.  Each course costs $99.

 

 

 

Using the placement chart available on the website, I chose to enroll my daughter in the High School Grammar, Usage and Mechanics course.  I wanted to make sure there were no gaps in her writing foundation. If we had determined that this was not the right course for her, for any reason, I could have changed courses or even had my money refunded within the first 2 weeks.  Time4Writing offers a 100% guarantee!  She begins her seventh week, today, and says, “This course has definitely been beneficial to me.  I already knew a lot of the material that was presented,  but I was able to identify my weak areas and discover what I still needed to learn.  Presently, I have a 96.86% for the course, but I have several classes to complete and I’m hoping to raise my final grade.  The teacher’s comments were encouraging and kept me on track.  Now, I have the confidence to conquer essay writing.”

 

 

Click graphic for Course Overview

High School Grammar, Usage and Mechanics covers:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Complex Sentences
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Plural & Possessive Nouns
  • Pronouns, Adjectives and Adverbs
  • Confusing Words & Capitalization Errors
  • Commas, Semicolons, and Other Punctuation
  • and Proofreading

 

Each course is student paced.  The student signs into the lesson and completes the assignments given.  These are not video lessons.  They are written and read by the student, reinforced by writing assignments and multiple-choice quizzes.  Tests are marked and comments written by the teacher, with the opportunity to correct and improve the grade.  I think this keeps the focus on learning and retaining the material, not on the grades obtained.  The parent is sent reports of every correspondence between the teacher and the student, and detailed reports of the assignments completed and test scores earned are available.

This system worked especially well for both of us.  I read reports and watched progress, but otherwise my time was not used for this course.  My daughter broke her ankle at the beginning of the course.  The pain and the medication she needed put her behind on her classes, but once she was feeling better she was able to make up the time.  She would work on lessons in the morning and then do an extra one in the evening.  Her teacher was attentive and helpful, even offering to extend her course time by a week, if it became necessary.  Although, the courses are a little costly to our homeschool budget, and I do wish they had a greater than 5% multiple users discount, the benefit of time gained was worth the price to me.  I hope to enroll her in the SAT essay writing course, soon.

There are numerous Free Writing Resources at Time4Writing.com.  I hope you’ll use the links I’ve provided throughout this post to gather more information and utilize the resources available.  You can also read the various reviews written by my Crew mates, when you click the banner below.

 

 

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Read the answers to  frequently asked questions, make  Contact  through the website

or

Click to follow on facebook

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I was given access to an 8-week online course from Time4Writing 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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Aug
20

It Takes a City…

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You’ve heard the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”   Well, in my case, it would seem that     it takes a city to raise a speller.  Many of my children are good readers, but that doesn’t make them all good spellers.  They often face a predicament not unlike the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh, A. A. Milne’s, “My spelling is Wobbly.  It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”  I have searched for and tried different ideas, games and disciplines, to teach spelling, with most ending in discouragement, until now.

 

 

 

 

VocabularySpellingCity.com  is an educational, fun, remarkably successful in-our-household, interactive, game-based website!  It works!  It’s affordable!  Please, pardon my bit of gushing enthusiasm, but I assure you I am quite sincere.  We will continue with this program until my last child enters college!

 

The VocabularySpellingCity mission: efficient game-based study of literacy skills using any word list. 


 Watch this brief video for a detailed description of VocabularySpellingCity.com

Covering “Elementary, Middle, and High School Vocabulary, Spelling, Writing, Parts of Speech, Handwriting, Alphabetical Order” and more.  Register for a FREE Basic Account and your child can start using it right away.  Input your own words or import words,  with customizable sentences and definitions, from lists already created:

 

 

When you choose to upgrade to a 1-year Premium Membershipwhere families can register up to 5 children, for the reasonable price of $29.99, you’ll reap the benefits of full access to VocabularySpellingCity.com.

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership Features

 

 

I have created lists for my earliest learners through college-prep age students:  Sound-Alike Words, Number Words, Months of The Year, Three-Letter Words, Six-Letter Words, 500 SAT Vocabulary Test Prep Words, Biology Words corresponding to a  Zane Education course, and several others.  As the parent/educator, it takes me just minutes to set up a week of assignments that will be taught, graded and tested by the program!  It’s easy, and it allows this busy momma to teach and trouble shoot other subjects.

The website for  VocabularySpellingCity.com   is easy to navigate.  I’ve included several links to it in this post, and I hope you will thoroughly explore the marvelous potential it holds for you and your students.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Write ~

VocabularySpellingCity.com, Inc.
6300 N.E. 1st Ave., Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33334

Email ~ info@spellingcity.com

Call ~ 954.357.1150

or

 follow on facebook

Makes practicing for spelling tests fun

As always, you’ll find well-written, honest Crew reviews of this product when you click the banner below.

 

 

 

 

“When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible.  But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.”    ~ Marlyn vos Savant, American Author

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

Disclaimer*   12 months Premium membership to VocabularySpellingCity.com was given to me free of charge, 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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Aug
17

Wanted: Education Without Compromise

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Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
 But his delight is in the law of The Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”

Instilling a desire for The Lord’s blessing, and teaching the steps that one might take to receive it, is of the utmost importance to me as a parent and home educator.  Presenting a consistent, Biblical worldview to my children is a priority in my life and home.

Next, I am responsible to see that they are academically equipped to be their best self.  Teaching them the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic, or finding the resources that can.

Vocab Videos are designed to build literacy, improve reading comprehension, and raise test scores.

“Outrageous plot lines and entertaining characters” are combined to illustrate the meaning of 500 essential vocabulary words in “hilarious, professionally produced short videos.”

“Each video follows a structure designed to make memorizing easier, using both auditory and visual clues.”

A vocabulary word is printed on a blank screen, with the definition, and it is audibly read.  A video demonstration of the word and it’s meaning is presented.  Finally, the word and definition appear on the screen again, and a narrator audibly uses the vocabulary word in a sentence.

There are 11 videos in the Series, 25 total episodes, that include 20 (30 second – 1 minute) clips each; covering 20 words per set.  The videos now play on mobile devices and tablets, in addition to the PC and laptop.

When you browse the website for  Vocab Videos  you’ll find that they’ve included access to Digital Study Tools that aid students in their retention of the words and their meanings – Digital Quizzes, Flashcard Maker, Digital Worksheets, Glossary of Words, and Crossword Puzzles.  There are also Teacher (Parent) Tracking Tools that can be set up for each student.

An Individual Student Subscription  starts at $24.95 for 6 months and is full access.

A Small Educator Account, for 1 – 20 students, is just $74.99 for a 12-month subscription.

The Vocab Videos Workbook, used for review and reinforcement, is a companion to the videos.  It can be purchased for $11.99.

It is evident that so much work and creativity has gone into each video clip.  The concept, no doubt prompted by a genuine desire to help students, is fantastic, but the execution falls short of my expectations.  As the conservative, Christian parent that I am, I am devoted to teaching my children to follow Scripture, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”  The “be in the world, but not of it” school of thought.  These videos are based on parodies of supposedly popular TV shows and movies:  Lost, The Office, 24, Gossip Girl, Rocky, and only after a Google search of  “horror character in hockey mask” I believe, Jason, from Friday the 13th.  Granted, this might be culturally entertaining to some, but the majority of it is unacceptable to me and I am quite disappointed that it is the basis for the video series.

I am definitely looking for a way to improve my student’s  SAT scores.  Knowing that Vocabulary is worth up to 150 points on the SAT, I was excited to use  Vocab Videos  with my high school and college age children.  In hindsight, I am thankful my 13-year-old daughter was not scheduled to use this program until next semester, so she was spared the inundation of inappropriate visuals.

Video clips include, but are NOT limited to:  The use of curse words – h*ll and d*mn, frequent use of The Lord’s name in vain – OMG and my lord, and other words that we find distasteful – p*ss*d.  Borderline bullying – two male co-workers express an attraction to the same female co-worker.  One belittles the other and when that co-worker uses the restroom and forgets to pull up his pants (shown in his boxers, which is unnecessary in itself) the bully proceeds to send a phone pic to everyone in the office.  Name calling – moron.  Hypnosis, chanting, Mystic Dan – his magic powers, foretelling of the future and disappearing into thin air.  Disturbing, scary, weird, violent clips involving the character spoofing Jason, dressed in bloody clothes and wearing a hockey mask – A high school girl is having nightmares.  She does say, “Watching all those scary movies was not the most judicious (the vocabulary word being demonstrated in the clip) thing I’ve ever done.  You watch scary movies you get nightmares.”  The Jason character calls her, shows up at her window, and her barricaded door, and eventually slits the throat of the pizza delivery guy.  She looks through a medicine cabinet that has at least a dozen prescription bottles in it, along with several OTC meds.  She doesn’t take anything, but the hint of drug use is uncalled for, in my opinion.  Jason scares another young girl, in a different clip, noting that her parents aren’t home and she’s alone.  He breaks into her home and she straddles him while holding a large butcher knife to his throat.  Later, they skip through the park together, holding hands and making the Mean Girls jealous…

My 22-year-old daughter said, “There are other ways to learn vocabulary words.  It’s not worth it to have to watch that!”  We don’t use language like this and we don’t watch shows like the ones depicted by these Vocab Videos.

Proverbs 4:23-27

“Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
  Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
  Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
  Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.”

 

The videos are designed to help memorization, often by viewing them repeatedly.  These pictures are not ones that I want imbedded in any of our minds.

Philippians 4:8

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

~

I highly recommend that YOU utilize the 1 month FREE trial to determine for yourself, whether or not  Vocab Videos  is a good fit for your family.  Personally, I’m looking for education without compromise, and I cannot justify using this program.

Let me remind you though, that the Crew is a diverse group of individuals with varied opinions.  I encourage you to click the banner below to read their reviews of this acclaimed program.

Comments or Questions?

Contact   Vocab Videos via their website

or

through their  facebook   page.

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   12 months access to a Small Educator Account of Vocab Videos was given to me free of charge, 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 reading, today.  I appreciate 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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Aug
01

Summer School and More

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Unlike many families I know, including those that homeschool, we continue schooling throughout the summer.  We take plenty of breaks during the year, at our convenience, but we do school year-round.

I’ve recently added Zane Education, with *The Missing Piece (c), to our summer schedule.

 

 

Zane Education has  “the largest, and most comprehensive fully subtitled online educational video library”  compiled to accommodate the requirements of the K-12 curriculum, and aligned to National and State Standards.  There are over 1,500 videos, covering nearly 400 topics, provided with lesson plans, interactive online quizzes, and more!

 

Subjects include:

Art

Biology

Geography

Health

History

Library Skills

Literature

Mathematics

Music

Religious Studies

Science and

Social Studies

 

Research proves that *The Missing Piece (c) – using subtitles and closed captioning on video – can dramatically improve children’s reading and literacy skills.

~

Once subscribed, you can begin by selecting a subject and then a specific topic to study, according to the access you purchased.  [In our house, a Gold Membership allows me to utilize the video library for my elementary; middle and high school aged students, and continuing education for myself, at no additional cost!]  User Guides  are available and cater to your child’s specific bent.  You can also download, and even print, a Lesson Plan Guide for each video.  Zane provides a vast Video Word Glossary, and interactive study tools:  an Encyclopedia, a Dictionary, and a Thesaurus.

Click the graphic to view a FREE Educational Video of the Day

When you watch a video, you might notice a couple of the quirks that we found slightly annoying, but not distracting enough to discontinue use of the program.

  • Videos do not play full screen.  There are some courses we could work on at the same time, but the viewing screen doesn’t really accommodate more than one person at a time; so, we’re concentrating on individual lessons.
  • There are non-functional button graphics in the videos.  I believe they are part of an older system and we just made the choice to ignore them.

 

There is also quite a bit of evolutionary content in different videos, especially in the Biological Science series.  Personally, if I am made aware of such content, ahead of time, I make it part of my student’s education and address it in comparison to our new earth creationist view.  It is my personal belief and Zane’s conviction that “students should know and understand positions outside of evangelical Christianity.   We are confident that their faith will be stronger when they know both sides and understand why we believe the Biblical view of the world is correct both intellectually and spiritually.”   Zane Education not only makes one aware of the bias, they have also written a Christian Learning Guide to assist you in teaching the truth.  “Zane Education’s educational program and this document offers you and your children two critical requirements for future influence:  (1) solid grounding and factual education, and (2) a Biblical Christian perspective and application of the program.”

~

This is our plan of action, for getting the most out of Zane Education:

Day 1 –

Print or Pull-from-File the Lesson Plan Guide for your assigned subject.  If not already done, put it in a clear plastic sleeve for future use.  Read.

Look up Glossary Terms ~ write summarized definition; key words, etc.

Day 2 –

Start video, pause at the beginning of each new page/frame and write down highlighted words that are not listed in your Glossary Terms, then restart video > listen carefully.

Look up words and write definitions.

Day 3 –

Play/Read video on mute.

Review words.

Day 4 –

Watch video and work on assigned Sharpen Your Skills projects.

Day 5 –

Watch video.

Take quiz.  (Note – Quizzes are marked and correct answers supplied by Zane, when needed, so that even in testing the learning process continues.)

~

We found this schedule fairly intensive.  We didn’t always complete the vocabulary work on the set day, and often rolled it over to the next day, but the retention of the material has been excellent!

Many of my Crew mates made use of  Zane in an entirely different way, and it’s beneficial to read their reviews, too.  You can click the banner below to do just that.


~

Monthly Subscriptions start as low as $8.99 per Subject, $12.99 per Age/Grade Level, or Full Access – All Subjects – All Videos for $17.99.

Yearly Memberships are also available, starting at $98.89 per Single Subject through the Best Value – Full Access – Gold Membership for $197.89.

~

You can contact:   Zane Education, by email ~  follow the link on their website, call ~ 1.650.488-8204, or write ~

Zane Education

2203 NE 203rd Terrace

Miami, FL  33180

Also, watch for their latest developments and new products –

Read their News Blog and follow Zane Education on facebook.

Read – What You Get with Zane


Zane Education addresses the genuine need for different learning styles, in our homes and our schools.   I encourage you to follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post, and browse their website.   You may find that it is the Visual Learning Solution for your child’s needs – whether gifted or specialized, home schooled or public schooled; Summer School, Bridge work, or Full Curriculum.

~

As a “thank you” for reading my blog, I can offer you a 35% promotional discount on the purchase of any annual subscription to Zane Education, available through August 31, 2012.  Use code ZE828HSM during checkout, to receive your discount, and leave a comment telling me which subscription you chose.  Thanks, again.

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   A  one year, full access, Gold Membership subscription was given to me, free of charge, 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.

 

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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