Archive for Reading

Oct
21

Reformation Day Giveaway

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For many, October 31st is known as “Reformation Day,” and Martin Luther, with his shaking of the church of his time, as the “Father of the Reformation.” The date acknowledges Luther’s nailing his ninety-five theses to a church door on October 31, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany; and becoming a major catalyst in what we now historically call the Protestant Reformation.

We would do well to recall The Five Solas (Latin phrases) that emerged during the Reformation. These should essentially underlay Christianity:

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.

Giving our children a firm foundation in their faith is vitally important. Danika Cooley has been lauded as “an engaging writer of children’s literature, she is a careful and winsome theologian.” I am excited to be reading her latest book, When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, and it will soon be available to you. (You can actually pre-order it now from Amazon at a sweet discount.) To celebrate Reformation Day and the release of When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther, I’ve joined together with a team of blogger friends to host a fantastic giveaway, valued at over $500!

 

Reformation Day Giveaway

One person will win ALL of the following:

$100 Amazon Gift Card

Fire 7-inch Tablet, WiFi 8GB ($49.99)

When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther (hardcover $16.99)

From WiseDecor.com, a $50 Gift Certificate

From Nuremberg Tourist Board, a Playmobil Martin Luther figure ($9.99)

From Thinking Kids Press, a curriculum bundle from When Lightning Struck! author, Danika Cooley:

From Fortress Press, a book bundle by author, Tim Dowley:

  1. Christian Music: A Global History  ($35)
  2. Introduction to the History of Christianity: Second Edition ($55)
  3. The Student Bible Atlas: Revised Edition  ($12.99)
  4. Atlas of the European Reformations ($24)

From Home School Adventure Co.:

  1. Philosophy Adventure: Pre-Socratics (digital $39.95)
  2. Mere Christianity Critical Analysis Journal (digital $18.95)

 

*To enter the giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  Void where prohibited by law. Must be at least 18 years of age. This giveaway is in no away associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. No purchase necessary for entry. Odds are determined by the number of entries. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Entry into this giveaway will subscribe you to the Thinking Kids Press email list.

Blessings,

Penny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aug
02

The Homegrown Preschooler ~ A TOS Review

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Gryphon House is an exceptional publisher of educational resource books for teachers and parents, public school and homeschool, young children; and administrators.  Their website is easy to navigate and stimulating.  There are hundreds of free activities available for you and your child!

 

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As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I recently had the opportunity to read The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live.  The title might be used to describe how I raised my own children; but with my youngest firmly in elementary school now, I was looking for encouragement and direction as I consider teaching other preschoolers from the same homegrown bent.  This book is just what I was looking for!

 

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The authors, Kathy Lee and Leslie Richards, are mothers of several children, birthed and adopted; including gifted and special needs.  They have years of education and hands-on experience between the two of them, and their book is beautifully compiled.  A large, 81/2″x 11″, high gloss paperback, it is bold, colorful, inviting; and full of life.  With the family pictures and personal anecdotes generously scattered throughout the book, by the end of it, I felt like I had shared conversations and special moments with wonderful, trusted friends.

From their intros, they had my attention. Kathy Lee says, “Children who experience their preschool years discovering and experiencing are more willing to take risks later in their education journey.”  I didn’t previously know this, so within the first few pages I gained valuable information.  Then, Leslie said, “. . . much of learning can be done within the everyday rhythm of life — measuring flour, skip counting on the trampoline, bringing a meal to a shut-in, writing letters to friends, participating in interesting conversations about big ideas,” and I was reminded of what I do know; and I found encouragement.

The Homegrown Preschooler is divided into 2 sections:

Chapters 1 – 9 help you understand why and how to educate your child/ren at home, giving them a foundation for life-long learning.

Homeschooling – Harvesting a Bountiful Life

Learning through Play

Sowing the Seeds – Preschool Learning

Setting the Stage

Home Life = Learning — Slow Down and Teach

Who Has Time for This?

Organizing It All

Days and Seasons That Don’t Fit in the Box

and

Special Circumstances.

The second section is nearly 100 pages, with at least 200 “easy-to-pull-together”, age appropriate Activities to prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond.  Promoting a healthy educational balance for –

Home Life

Science

Gross Motor

Fine Motor

Math

Language & Emergent Literacy

Art

and Social – Emotional skills.

An Appendix includes an Activity Checklist, Getting Started Checklist; and pages of Resources, with web sites, books, blogs and apps to lend a hand, instruct and encourage you along the way.  They share all their favorites!

I tried recipes, for food and play.  There are dozens of them throughout the book.  I’ve made ordinary finger paints and play dough before, but I’d never made clean mud or puffy paint!  The make-ahead Turkey Taco Pie is easy.  The recipe makes a lot, so it can be divided and frozen for extra pies, but it is actually perfect for my large family.  It tastes good, too!  I hone in on housekeeping and organizational tips, because the Lord knows I can use as much help in that department as I can get.  There are so many good ideas here — some I’ve had myself, implemented and forgotten, or simply slacked off on, and I’ve read them as gentle reminders; others are brand new, and more than once I’ve thought, “Duh, why didn’t I think of that!”  For example, we have wood floors and I taught my children how to sweep and mop them.  How much more fun is it to have “The Clean Floor Dance Party: This often dreaded chore will become one of your favorites! Provide your child with a pair of white tube socks and a spray bottle of white vinegar and water. Encourage your child to squirt the hard floor with the vinegar solution. Put on your favorite dance music. Dance and skate around on the floor until it is shiny!”   Clean floor, lots of fun and laughter, plus, with the amount of floor we have, this gets everyone’s heart rate up and counts as cardiovascular exercise, or PE, too!

I have no doubt, I will continue to use this book, digging into its riches.  At $29.95, it’s a treasure I can share with my daughters who are just beginning to teach my preschool grandchildren.  The Homegrown Preschooler is much more articulate than I am and I think it will be one of the best tools I can offer them for their journey.

My Crew mates had the choice of reviewing this same book or one titled, Global Art.  You can read their reviews when you click the graphic below and follow the link.

 

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Blessings,

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Disclaimer*   I received The Homegrown Preschooler: Teaching Your Kids in the Places They Live, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

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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Jul
22

25 Truths: Life Principles. . . A TOS Review

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25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Usby Ed Douglasfrom Ed Douglas Publicationshas the potential to be a powerful tool in anyone’s life, when it is read and consistently applied.

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It is a small, paperback book, just 5″X7″ and 150 pages.  It contains more than ideas, theories or mere possibilities, though. Written on these pages are proven life experiences, and principles of successful living.

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Each chapter title is a truth, life principle; followed by a famous, relative quote or scripture reference.  Mr. Douglas then shares a story of life experience, from his own life, the life of someone he’s known; or an historical account, to expound on and reinforce the importance of each of the 25 Truths.  There is a brief Summary and Workshop of discussion questions included at the end of every chapter. The chapters are a clear and concise 3 – 5 pages max, teaching on character & values, interaction with others, faith, family, health & happiness; and more.

Basically written for 6th – 12th graders, I chose to use it with my children and grandchildren, ages 8 – 14. When I knew my grandchildren were going to be spending their summer vacation camping with us, I decided I would use 25 Truths:  Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, as our daily devotional.  I read it to them in the morning, at lunchtime, or winding down before bed.  I would read one of the Truths and the discussion questions that accompany it, to myself, ahead of time.  That took a whole 3 – 4 minutes!  Then, we’d gather around the camp fire, start with prayer; and I’d read aloud.  I used the discussion questions to help guide me and ensure I covered all the key points, but I chose to stop reading at different places throughout the text, and ask questions that would prompt sharing; instead of using them exclusively at the end of the chapter.  We “chased a few rabbits,” as they say, and “got off on a tangent or two,” because of this decision, but the book definitely facilitated a good, open discussion between us.  After we wrapped up our lesson, we’d close in prayer, asking God to bring the Truth to mind and help us live it out.  It was a focused 15 – 20 minutes, once a day, using it this way.  I think we all enjoyed the time and I expect it will have long lasting rewards.  More than once during our days together, one or another would reference one of the Truths we had studied, as a way of accountability, in casual conversation, when they thought of another personal story that connected to something they remembered; or with pop quizzes to see who could name the most Truths. It was apparent they were thinking about the 25 Truths, even when we weren’t studying them.

I’m going to assign this little gem of a book to my high school age children this coming year.  Because it’s based on a sound, Christian world view, I believe it will make a great study of character values.  They can read it themselves, and answer the discussion questions in writing.

I think the positive reinforcements and benefits of Ed Douglas’ 25 Truths is worth more than $12.50, but I appreciate the price, because it’s affordable to purchase as a gift, also.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Ed Douglas Publications

2109 Oaklawn

Chillicothe, MO  64601

In addition, several of my Crew mates have written reviews of 25 Truths: Life Principles of the Happiest and Most Successful Among Us, and you can find them when you click the banner below and follow the link.

 

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“It is my belief,” writes Ed Douglas, “that understanding and practicing these truths can help put the “man” together one person at a time so that, together, we can help the world fall into place.”  I’m willing to do my part. . .

Blessings,

pk_siggy-red1

 

Disclaimer*   I received the book, 25 Truths, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

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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May
13

Papa’s Pearls ~ A TOS Review

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At just 5″ X 8″ and 113 pages, Papa’s Pearls is an exceptional, little paperback book; written by Diane Flynn Keith, about her father, Carol Joseph Flynn.  Mr. Flynn is Papa.  His pearls are words of wisdom he lived by and readily shared with his family and friends.  They are a legacy of love to his children, his grandchildren; and now to us.

 

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After I spent some time browsing Diane’s blog, learning more about her and her book, I couldn’t wait to read it!  The blog, by the same name, Papa’s Pearls, is a wonderful compliment to the book.  Appreciating family photographs, as I do, I love that Diane has set up a photo album of Papa.  It is a sweet connection to the man I’ve met while reading Papa’s Pearls:  A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children.

 

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I read the story of Carol Joseph Flynn’s life aloud to my children, in the evenings before bed.  They always wanted more!  Each of the 17 chapters is like a snapshot of time, detailing actual tidbits of fact and history; woven with personal accounts, Papa’s wit and feelings, and the lessons he learned.  He was born in 1922, in San Francisco.  He rose above a life of hard knocks, becoming a good man, a respected leader; and a well-loved father and grandfather.  Because he lived through war time and The Great Depression, just as my children’s grandparents did, there was much material for discussion.  We could contrast and compare what Diane wrote of his life with what we know of their lives.  I read aloud the Introduction, at the beginning of the book, so my kids would know that Papa had already died and his daughter was writing about the impact he had on his family’s life.  My husband’s parents, my mother; and my grandmother have all died in the past 15 years.  Nearly every time I read a chapter from Papa’s Pearls, our memories were sparked to reminisce and talk about our own family heritage.  How Grandpa did “this”, always said “that”, or looked at Grandma “just so.”  What Gramma “believed” and how she shared her faith.  Papa’s Pearls is indeed full of love and wisdom from a life well lived, but it is so much more to us.  It is a tool that stirs our own memories, and unlocks our personal heritage.  No doubt, we will read it time and again!

                             An autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls is available for $21.97, on the Papa’s Pearls website.  Diane Flynn Keith is also a homeschool coach and mentor, and you can find her at Homefires.com, and Carschooling.com.

 

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What a delight that Diane Keith could spend time with her dad, recounting memories of his nearly 90 years, before his death in December 2011.  She has written a fine tribute to him, his resilience and his positive out look on life; sharing with the world that we are loved more than we know.  Papa says:

“What’s the Worst Thing that Could Happen?”

“You gotta Use Your Street Smarts.”

“Tell Yourself You Like It.”

“It’s All about Family.”

“Be Grateful Everyday.”

and more.

“Tell Yourself You Like It,” is a prime example of Papa’s out look on life.  Being a plumber in San Francisco, Papa often had to work in the sewers.  When his young children asked him how he could stand the smell, he replied, “You just tell yourself you like it.  Then, it’s not so bad.”  Many years ago, my suburban raised husband got a job on a hog farm.  He was going to college and there was a house for our family, on the property, provided with the job.  The smell of the area was just animal-waste-ripe, and it seemed to permeate everything.  Every time we would leave the house, on our return up the driveway my husband would say, “Mmmm, smells like money!” and he’d smile.  We were just so thankful for a place to live and a dependable job!  We got through that time with genuinely grateful hearts and good attitudes.  We learned so many life lessons during that time, and some of them we didn’t even realize until we read Papa’s story.  Diane writes that her “Papa knew what research studies show.  People who have positive attitudes are winners in good times, and survivors in hard times.  You are what you think.  Tell yourself you like it.”

 

My crew mates have also written reviews of Papa’s Pearls:  A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren, and you can find them when you click the banner and follow the link below.

 

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Blessings,

 

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Disclaimer*   I received an autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls, 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.

 

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Thank you for your comments.  I enjoy hearing from you!

 

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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Apr
28

A Top Ten List – What I Like To Do

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Puddle Jumping - KneeDeep

Here’s a little something about me.

A list of ten things I like to do, in no particular order:

 

  • Write.  That’s why I’m here on this page.  I like to write stories, poems, songs; and random blog posts!  Writing down characters, plots, and lyrics; that often weave their way through my brain, helps me focus my thoughts and make room for other things.
  • Draw.  I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  Holding a pencil in my hand feels as natural as breathing.  I like drawing from my imagination — abstract ideas and cartoons; and I like drawing things that I see around me — people, landscapes, and still life.
  • Paint.  Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums.  I find it relaxing and challenging at the same time.  I was a color-inside-the-lines kind of kid, and painting with watercolors coaxes me outside of the box; and sort of forces me to go with the flow.

 

Watercolor by S.E.Koshiol

  • Read.  I can’t think of a genre I don’t like.  I like both fiction and non-fiction — historical, fantasy, Christian romance, mystery and thriller, short stories; and poetry.  I also like reading The Bible.  I read nearly anytime and anywhere I can!  I’m afraid I may never be able to express the endless happiness that reading gives me.
  • Spend time with my family.  I couldn’t ask for better people in my life.  My family is so much fun!  Whether we are on a Sunday drive, hiking, looking for adventure; or just hanging out, talking, laughing, and playing games — we enjoy each others company.
  • Camp.  This is another great family activity!  We generally pitch tents and sleep on the ground in sleeping bags.  We’ve camped in the summer heat and the frozen cold of a spring day that was still too close to winter’s breath.  I like the great outdoors, camp fires and s’mores, lying under the stars at night; and soaking up every wonder of God’s creation.
  • Sing.  I like to sing, but I don’t like to perform.  I like to sing spontaneously, around the house and in the car.  I like the sound of blending my voice with my mom’s and dad’s, and/or sibling’s voices, whether we’re praising God; or goofing off with our favorite tunes. 

 

As I read over this list, seeing my favorite likes in one place, I realize how thankful I am that God has allowed me to do so many things.  My family has never had a lot of money, but clearly The Lord has blessed me abundantly.

I’d love to hear what you like to do.  If you share your list in the comments below,  I’ll be sure to read them!  Thanks.

 

Warmly,

Sarah E.

 

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

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Mar
24

First Steps In the Write Direction

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Puddle Jumping - KneeDeep

 

The library is one of my favorite places in the world!  Just thinking about the endless stories, and the amount of knowledge that can be obtained there, makes me smile like a little kid who gets her ice cream before dinner.  Sometimes, when I hear we’re going to the library, I have to stop myself from jumping up and down in excitement and anticipation.  Technology today allows us to read digitally, almost anywhere.  I have a Kindle and it’s wonderful, but it’s not like holding a real book in your hands, flipping through the pages; and smelling the paper.  If imagination had a smell, it would smell like books!

 

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When I walk by the shelves of beautifully organized words, I can nearly hear them scream, “Read me!”  I can pick up a book, open its cover; and be transported to another time and place.  I can explore someone else’s mind, view life through their eyes, live their adventures; or follow their dreams with them.  I have a passion for reading and it has been poured into me, drop by drop, word by word by my mother.

I have sweet memories of being younger, sitting with my mom and listening to her read aloud.  Evenings were spent with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the classic Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, the compelling Orphan Train Adventures as told by Joan Lowery Nixon; and many other stories.  I would snuggle close to the nearest sibling, close my eyes; and let the words make pictures in my mind.

My cultivated zeal for words and reading has blossomed into an aspiration for writing.  The pleasure I got from reading books as a child, like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, or Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, induces me to write children’s stories now that I hope will ignite similar feelings in a young one.  I am inspired by the writings of Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock, and Frank Peretti.  I might contemplate writing for adults, but it will take some coaxing.  I am sure of two things: I will be an author, and I’ll  share the truth of God’s love with others; glorifying Him.

I want the words that I put down on paper to draw people to God  I don’t want them to be wasted.  When I was little, my dad would come into our room at night, pray with us and tell us a bedtime story.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him weave his tales of faith, humor, adventure, fantasy; or every day life.  I wanted to grow up to do that, too; and my parents have encouraged me all along the way.  I am a story teller at heart.

I believe I know the direction God would have me go, so I am setting aside the fears of failure and rejection that I have let hold me back.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone and writing a guest post, every Sunday, on this blogNo doubt, I’ll be Puddle Jumping, because I have crazy, random thoughts sometimes; but I hope you’ll follow me as I take my first steps in the write direction.

Warmly,
 
Sarah E.

 

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Oct
26

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.

 

 

Blessings,

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.

 

 

 

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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
24

Let Me Introduce You to Hope

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Ahhh…reading!  Just the thought of a good book makes me smile.  It has been some time since I’ve been able to stow away and read a book just for the pleasure of reading a book.  My favorite type of story is one that carries me away to another place and time, a period piece, with golden threads of history woven through it.  These are not easy books to write.  An author will often spend a lot of time reading and researching their subject before they can even begin to put pen to paper, because most readers expect the historical account to be accurate; especially if it is a time or place that is familiar to them.

I recently found Hope.  She is a promising young author, published by Great Waters Press

 

 

The chief publishers of Great Waters Press are Hal & Melanie Young, the authors of a 2011 Book of the Year – Raising Real Men.  Hope’s first book, Book One of The Promised Land, is titled A Cry From Egypt.  It is written for ages 8 and up, and it is a superlative first effort!

Hope has researched Ancient Egypt for several years.  Her interest was kindled when she was 13 years old and her family was studying it.  Have you ever wondered how it would have been to live in Egypt during the time of the devastating plagues and the Hebrew slaves being set free?  What it would have been like to experience The Promised Land, first-hand?  Author Hope Auer has brought a cast of characters to life from this time, using her knowledge of Ancient Egypt, the few facts that are recorded about this period; and the Biblical account.  She takes no liberties with Scripture and maintains historical accuracy, while telling a fascinating story as it is lived by a 12 year old slave girl, Jarah, her family and friends.

 

 

A Cry From Egypt is set around the time of events beginning in the seventh chapter of the book of Exodus, through the 10 plagues on Egypt; and culminating with chapter 12 –

 

“…I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.”

“…I will plague your whole country with frogs.”

“…and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”

“…I will send swarms of flies on you…”

“…the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field…”

“…festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”

“…I will send the worst hail storm that has ever fallen on Egypt…”

“…I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.  They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen.”

“…and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.”

“Every firstborn son in Egypt will die…”

 

These verses are foundational to the story, yet they are never directly referenced.  Hope has interlaced a believable story of possibilities with the Truth.  We see compassion, hatred, fear, forgiveness, unbelief, faith; and more, but it is clearly a story, not a sermon.  Through the characters, we have the freedom to question and explore, Who is Yahweh?  Can we know Him?  Does He hear our pleas for deliverance, help or salvation?  We’re reminded of God’s perfect timing and His great love for us.  We connected with Jarah and could openly discuss what it means to trust Yahweh.  Will she be willing to trust Him to lead her to the promised land?  Would we?

I chose to read this aloud to my older teens and down.  I read a few chapters at a time and then we would discuss it, not because we were having “school” but because it genuinely prompted stimulating conversation.  One evening we spent a chunk of time on, “How do you determine whether or not someone is being punished justly or abused before you step-in?  Is it ever okay to step-in?  What is the Biblical basis for your answer?  Where do we stand as a family?”

I finished the book first by myself, because I couldn’t put it down.  I wanted to know how Hope was going to write this, whether she’d mention that; and what happened to them?  I wasn’t disappointed.  The only issue I had was in finishing the chapter tease for Book Two, found at the end of A Cry From Egypt, and realizing it’s not yet written and I can’t purchase it!  Oh my, can I wait patiently or not?  That is the question.

~

You can purchase an advanced copy of A Cry From Egypt, for $12.50.  Scroll to the bottom of the Raising Real Men Web Page, right-hand side; and see Contact Us to email Hal and Melanie Young or find them on facebook – Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys  and  Great Waters Press.

If you have questions or comments for Hope Auer, she has a first-rate blog @ http://acryfromegypt.com/  and she also has a facebook page.  I know she’d love to hear from you!

~

My Crew mates had the opportunity to read  A Cry From Egypt or another new book published by Great Works PressChildren in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship.  You can read their reviews when you click the banner below.

 

 

Hope is a homeschool graduate, and so is her illustrator, Mike Slaton.  This knowledge was an encouragement to me as I teach my own artists, musicians and writers.  It also spoke volumes to my children because it is a positive, hopeful, published writing by one-like-them.  On a more basic level, my 8 year old daughter liked the action of the story and enjoyed the fact that Jarah has an 8 year old little sister and older brothers just like she has.  It is simply a good book and that makes me smile.

 

 Blessings,

Disclaimer*   I received a pre-publication copy of A Cry From Egypt, 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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