Archive for Spelling

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
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
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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Mar
05

It’s a New Day!

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

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

 

Click the K5 graphic above for Sample Lessons 

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

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

 

 Click graphic above for Math details

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

Click Math Facts graphic above to view demo

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

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

Subscription rate:

per year – 1st child $199

additional child $129

per month – 1st child $25

additional child $15

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

Click assessment graphic above for more information.

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

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

phone – 888.281.2145

 write –

K5 Learning

510-4438 West 10th Avenue

Vancouver, British Columbia

V6R 4R8

or facebook

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

Blessings,

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

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

 

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

 

 

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Feb
13

Much To Do About Spelling

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I think I’ve told you, a couple of times, how much I love to read.  I’ve shared with you my love of language, wanting to learn Spanish and Latin.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, even diagramming sentences.  I like the rhythm of words.  The cadence of their syllables.  I think spelling bees are wonderful!

Some of my children share my love of reading.  Some of them write and develop story lines, fleshing out characters.  They’ll watch The National Spelling Bee with me, amazed at the difficulty of some of the words given, but none of them actually enjoy spelling.   I think it’s because they lack confidence in their ability to spell words correctly.  They recognize a word when reading it, but cannot always spell it when using it in their writing.  They know the meaning of a word, and can use it properly in a sentence, but inevitably will forget how to spell it.  I’ll admit, this is no small frustration for me.  We own more than one dictionary and have utilized spell check on the PC, even when something is being written by hand.  Grumblings can sometimes be heard when one is sent to heft the cumbersome, intimidating dictionary off the shelf, to “find the word yourself,” and the computer is not always accessible; so, they often ask me how to spell a word.  Even then, the usual response is, “spell the word, the way you think it is spelled, and then ask me if it’s correct.”

We’ve done vocabulary lists and spelling words for the week.  Using rote and repetition.  And, it’s a good thing I like words as much as I do, because we’ve been playing word games, like Scrabble and Boggle, for 30 years!  Educational fun and reinforcement, you know.  Yet, spellings escape them.

Last year, as a TOS Homeschool Review Crew Member, I reviewed what-is-now my favorite Reading Tool.   See-N-Read was my introduction to CadenaSmith Enterprises, and it is “a truly effective intervention for reading.”  This year, See-N-Spell arrived at my house, with much anticipation!  It is a 40 page Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide.

 

 

In alphabetical order, you’ll find more than 300 most commonly used vocabulary words and commonly misspelled words.  Basically, if you know the first letter or couple of letters in a word, you can find it here, correctly spelled.  Homophones (here – hear, there – their) are listed too (to – two), with a brief definition, so it’s easy to choose the correct one.  Although, it is printed on heavy duty, semi-gloss paper, for repeated use, it is not a heavy, 2 inch thick, hard bound book.  It’s an unassuming, easy-to-use booklet, that prompts my children to use it regularly.   Dr. Sylvia Smith, the author, thought to include a section where you can write your own special interest words, words you might use fairly often, but waffle on when it comes time to spell.  Guaranteed, or is it gauranteed?  Sometimes, after we study it for several seconds it becomes even more muddled.  Easier just to look it up in the See-N-Spell and move on in your creative or constructive writing.

“Writers typically possess a larger everyday spoken (social) language vocabulary than written academic language vocabulary.”  The See-N-Spell – Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide facilitates getting that larger vocabulary transferred easily to the written page.  “The need for correct spelling and adequate vocabulary is not limited to English Literature and Composition courses…they are essential components of success in Social Studies, Science, and Math, as well as in the world of business.”

It’s our new go-to spelling guide!  At $9.99 I think it’s a worthwhile investment, plus, I nearly forgot to tell you, you receive my favorite, document sized See-N-Read Reading Tool FREE,  with each See-N-Spell booklet you order!   Please, follow the links I’ve included in this post and visit their website for more information.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

phone ~ 630.236.5592

email ~ info@see-n-read.com

or write ~

CadenaSmith Enterprises

2533 Sutton Lane

Aurora, IL  60502-9461

As always, my wonderful Crew mates have written their own reviews of this product.  If you click on the graphic below you’ll find them on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

Blessings,

 

 

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

 

~ Thank you.

*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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Nov
08

Clever Dragons Discount!

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Clever Dragons launches it’s smart fun for boy’s only, today!  My son has been waiting weeks for this, as I wrote in my review of a scoop of laughter, a scoop of learning, Always Icecream, for girl’s only!

I’ll be posting a review of this site, soon, but couldn’t wait to tell you that Clever Dragons is online and they are offering a discounted membership rate for a limited time only.

* Now through November 27th *

Launch Special Price

$39.99 for Lifetime Membership

No promo code needed.

Find Clever Dragons on facebook for the latest updates.

Blessings,

Clever Dragons, nor anyone affiliated with them, asked me to write this post.  I received no compensation and any expressed opinions are my own.

Thanks for your comments.  PK

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Nov
07

An Adventure to Ooka Island

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Technology has not changed at our house at the same rate that it has generally, but, we use more of it than many households do, I’m sure.

I remember a time when we didn’t own a camera.  One year, I wrote every detail I could think of to record our child’s 2nd birthday party.  We didn’t have a camera and I didn’t want her to think we hadn’t had a party for her, because there were no pictures; so, I described everything!  Eventually, we owned a Polaroid that developed instant pictures and a little 110 camera.  We had to send our 110 film off in an envelope to get it developed and then got our pictures in the mail.  Initially, 35mm disposable cameras were expensive, yet they cost less than investing in a real one.  The first 35mm camera we were able to buy was all manual.  You set the flash when you needed it, you advanced the film after a picture and rewound the film by hand and gave it to the developer.  It was certainly not an SLR, but I thought it was a wonder!  Over the years, we were able to upgrade to an automatic and I have some great pictures from those years.  The Christmas after our youngest child was born we were given our first digital camera.  You know how, usually, the first child in the family has the most pictures taken of them?  Well, that’s not the case here.  We have so many pictures of our youngest daughter!  Everything new she did was documented with the cool camera that had the itty-bitty screen on the back.  Now, a decent digital camera is reasonably priced and there are nearly half-a-dozen, owned by the teens and adults of our family.  My younger children think you look at every picture after you take it, they don’t know any different.

I used to write out every quiz and test, in duplicate, because I didn’t have a copy machine.  When our older children were our young students, they answered workbook questions on separate sheets of paper, so I could reuse the workbooks with their siblings.  For the last few years, we’ve had a do-it-all printer/scanner/copier.

In years past it wasn’t even a thought to own a personal computer.  It was way out of our budget.  Now, not only do we own a PC, but we have high-speed internet access.

Remember the Walkman that played a cassette tape?  One year, several of the children received personal CD players for Christmas.  Last year the three youngest were given MP3’s.

There are cell phones everywhere! And it wasn’t that many years ago that there were only three television stations and you actually had to leave your house to rent a VHS movie.  No HD, no DVD, no Blue-Ray and certainly not as many acronyms.

An older daughter has a Kindle and I recently bought a WebOS Touch Pad, for reading and school-on-the-go.

Our children know how to use each of these devices and more, usually before we do.  The last two school years have seen a dramatic difference in how I teach, because I’ve had access to online curricula.  I’m still working on finding a balance, but I don’t shy away from the use of technology, like I once might have done.

The fact is, some of my children are a generation apart.  Things have changed.  I have more options today than ever before, when it comes to their education.  By no means are we on the cutting edge of technology, but we are trying to keep a steady pace.

Recently, my youngest daughter and I set out on a new adventure.  Now, before I take a trip, I like to know something about my destination.  I do a little research before I book a flight or a cruise.  I read reviews, check out the best eateries and look for places that aren’t tourist traps.

I discovered an island that I hadn’t heard of before.  So, we went to the logical place to check it out – You TubeThere are dozens of videos about it!

 

This one got us excited about beginning our Ooka Island Adventure!


Click graphic to view the Official Trailer.

Ooka Island is a virtual online world.  A vibrant, energetic world created especially for ages 3 – 7 years, pre-K through 2nd grade.

Students style a personal avatar and set off on heroic quests.  Along the way, they develop skills essential to prereading, reading and spelling.  They learn to understand sounds, associate sounds with letters, blending and making words, all while mountain climbing, cave exploring, cake making and more.

This is an innovative program.  There are 24 levels of purposeful, crazy-fun 3D games, led by a robot named Zobot!  The players meet Auntie Kay, Ooka elves that need rescued and the mischievous Figgs.  20 minutes of school work, that they don’t have a clue they’re doing, and they earn 8 minutes of free time.  They’re successes are rewarded with the option to play games or buy stuff for their avatar.

Click graphic to read “the Ooka Adventure for Parents.”

The ten Ooka Island game areas, are designed to build on each other, getting more difficult with each one.  The entire system adapts to each individual child’s progress.  It is a complete curriculum, using 85 interactive e-books, on three levels:  Emergent, Beginning and Fluency.  My daughter is quite fond of the Ooka books, because they seem rather Dr. Seuss-ish and are written for the child.

Take your child on an adventure to Ooka Island, there is a Parent’s Page where you can track their progress and play along.  Together, you will motivate and teach him to be a fluent, lifelong reader.

There’s no risk with the 14-day Free Trial.

Click graphic for full pricing overview.

Use promo code:  LAUNCHSPECIAL30  and save 30% on a monthly subscription.

To read other Ooka Island Adventures reviews, click the TOS Homeschool Review Crew graphic below.

Stay up-to-date with everything on the island by following Ooka on facebook.  Browse the website:  http://www.ookaisland.com  and read Village Voices, the Ooka blog.

Blessings,


 

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

 

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

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Nov
02

Striving for Excellence in Literature

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Just a little more than a week ago, I wrote a blog post, a review, and in it I said, “I don’t believe that I have all of the answers to my children’s educational needs, or that I’m even required to, but I can find the answers.”  You thought that I said this, thought it, or wrote it for YOU, didn’t you?  Well, I did; I want you to find encouragement here, but…you would not believe how many times in the course of one school year that I have to remind myself of this!  I still have much to learn.

I’ve told you in other posts, that I love reading, English, spelling and writing!  I even thought that I had a decent foundation in these areas.  Oh, woe am I, I recently sent myself back to school, with my students.  Our teacher?  Mrs. Janice Campbell, author of Excellence in Literature:  Reading and Writing Through the Classics, by Everyday Education.

 

 Photobucket

We began at the beginning, with EIL::  English 1:  Introduction to Literature.  The first of 5 college preparatory levels:

  1. Introduction to Literature
  2. Literature and Composition
  3. American Literature
  4. British Literature
  5. World Literature

(Note:  American and British Literature are co-published with the Institute for Excellence in Writing.)

 Introduction to Literature is written for grades 8 – 12 and has options for honors credit.  I find the reading and writing both stimulating and challenging, and we have not even properly used the honors options!

Photobucket

 Click graphic to follow unit sample link.

 

 The text is written to the student and is designed to be self-directed.  There are 9 units per level, optimally completed within 4 weeks each.  Each unit focuses on a specific piece of writing, or group of writings – novels, drama & poetry.  These are the focus texts.  Additionally, a study of the author is done, including research on the historical time period the author is writing from and the art, music and influences of the day.  These context texts provide an in-depth understanding of the literature, making the analysis easier and more informed.  The student is encouraged to read the honors texts as well, if they desire to take AP and/or CLEP exams.  Finally, a composition, in answer to a specific essay question, must be planned, drafted, revised, polished and presented for evaluation.

Initially, as I read through the course syllabus, I was overwhelmed.  Even though the author says, “reading is a conversation between a reader and an author,” and she successfully writes this way, I have neither taken a course, nor taught a course, with requirements such as these.  That’s why I decided we would do the first units together.  Reading aloud, researching together, pooling our thoughts and openly discussing the essay questions.  We have not written anything, yet, or used the Evaluation Rubric that’s provided, but we are learning.

My high school students are already past eighth grade and they don’t have 5 years left to complete this exceptional literature course; so, we’re being flexible and that actually has Janice Campbell’s blessing.  Yes, each level ideally builds on the previous one, but it is also designed to mix and match, across levels as needed, to allow for – the coordination of literature levels with history studies, time constraints, etc.  My thought is that it is better for a student to complete only two levels in three years, while becoming comprehensively literate and discovering a treasure of great stories, plays and poems, than to strictly follow the lesson plan but never quite “get it.”  Mrs. Campbell acknowledges that each family and student is unique.  She does have a goal for Excellence in Literature.

Her goal is to:

  • Introduce students to great literature from the western literacy tradition.
  • Teach students to read with discernment.
  • Train independent, self-motivated learners.
  • Provide tools that students can use to strengthen their writing skills.
  • Introduce students to sources for high-quality online and offline research.
  • Prepare students for college classes by expecting carefully-researched, well-thought-out material to be presented in standard format, with preliminary proofreading completed.

But even as we are striving to reach these goals, she gives us permission to suit the curriculum to our needs.  (“Thank you, Janice Campbell, I appreciate that freedom more than you may know.”)  I’m more comfortable with the set-up every day, including my adjustments.  I’ve completely cut out a couple of focus texts and substituted a couple of honors texts in place of the assigned texts.  I chose T.S. Eliot’s, Murder in the Cathedral (honor), over Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw (focus) and The Pilgrim’s Progress (honor), by John Bunyan, over Gulliver’s Travels (focus), by Jonathan Swift.  The Pilgrim’s Progress is our first essay.  I have big plans to quickly glean as much as possible of English 1, steadily move through English 2 and maybe scratch the surface of English 3, before the next graduation.

I love this curriculum and I’m looking forward to actually following the prescribed lesson plan with my younger children!

Excellence in Literature is available in print or e-book.  I like this particular product in e-book format.  I had instant access and copyright permission to print as many copies as needed for my immediate family.

~

1 year/level – $29.

All 5 levels, now available, at one time – $139.

~

You can contact Janice Campbell several ways, the woman is everywhere!  =)

email is best ~ jceved@comcast.net

or

write ~

Janice Campbell

Everyday Education,LLC

P.O. Box 549

Ashland, VA  23005  USA

subscribe to her blogs ~

Taking Time For Things That Matter

and

Do What Matters, Make It Pay

or

click logo to follow on facebook.

Read other reviews of Excellence in Literature:  English 1:  Introduction to Literature, on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

Blessings,

 

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

 

 

Thanks for your comments.

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


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Sep
09

Let the Games Begin!

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According to their website, Griddly Games is committed to “bringing innovative and engaging games to people ‘across the grid.”  They’ve consistently gained recognition for their ingenuity and creativity in designing games that are fun and educational.  Many of their games have won the Teacher’s Choice Award for the Classroom and the Dr. Toy Winner award, among others.

We like board games at our house.  I buy them new and second-hand.  Some have been given to us as gifts and some as hand-me-downs from children or families that out grew them.  We’ve even been known to create a few of our own over the years.  I have boxes with the games intact and then I have boxes or bags of pieces, to replace pieces that inevitably get lost.  The family that plays together gets to know one another better!  Chess, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Sorry, games of memory and concentration, Wits & Wagers, card games like War, Go! Fish and Golf, Yahtzee!, Boggle, Chutes and Ladders and Pictionary come to mind with ease.  Several have been played by all eleven of our children, at one time or another, while others are special editions or upgrades.  Griddly Games are new to our house, but Wise Alec has become a fast favorite.

Wise Alec is an educational trivia game “covering topics in History, Science and Spelling.”  Nature Nuts is a stand alone, nature trivia, travel game, and a Wise Alec expansion set.

 

 

The box has a magnetic lip on the lid that is excellent!  This is a no game board = play anywhere kind of game.  Slips into the beach bag.  Travels well to doctor’s and dentist’s offices.  Rides well on long car trips and suffers no ill effects when played sitting Indian-style on the bed.

 

 

Designed for 2 – 6 players, ages 8 and up.  In my opinion, it easily accommodates more players because in it’s simplest game the die is rolled, questions are asked & answered and points are tallied.  Plenty of questions for everyone!  Each card, Animal, Plant, and Earth has two levels of questions, novice and expert.  (The cards are a little thin and gloss-coated on the graphic side only; so, not quite as durable as I like.)  The Wise Alec cards pose challenges that may cost the player points or add bonus points.

 

 

  • Brain Teaser ~ Name 3 mammals  + 3 points
  • Action! ~ Make your best fish face  + 3 points
  • Yoga Time! ~ Do the tree pose.  Hold your arms above your head with palms pressed together.  Lift one leg off the ground so that your foot rests by your other knee.  Hold for 30 seconds.  + 7 points
  • Tongue Twister ~ Real rock wall.  Repeat 5 times.  + 5 points
  • Yes! ~ You do your 3 r’s:  you recycle, reuse and reduce!  + 2 points
  • Study Break! ~ Hop from side to side 15 times.  +3 points
  • Oops! ~ You put old cheese into the composting bin!  – 2 points  (We threw out one Oops! card ~ Your horse passed gas!  – 2 points –  It seemed like unnecessary coarse jesting and we didn’t want to encourage it.)
  • plus, Double Chance!, Roll Again!, and Still My Turn! cards.

 

We’ve learned something new every time we’ve played this game!  You’ll find the Wise Alec Family Trivia GameWise Alec:  Nature Nuts, retailing for $14.99,  Wise Alec:  Civilize This and Wise Alec:  Sports Buffs, along with other Griddly Games, at your local toy/game stores and at various online retailers.  Discover the fun at Amazon.com!

 

 

 

This graphic is from Kidz Zone.  A place for kids to play interactive online games and print coloring sheets!  A Griddly FREEBIE!

~

Contact:

Griddly Games, Inc.

633 – 5960 No. 6 Road

Richmond, BC V6V 1Z1

~

604.249.5020

and

This little cutie is the profile pic for Griddly Games facebook page.

Stop by and tell them Knee Deep In Grace sent you!

~

The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew, my mates, have points of view to share with you.

Check ’em out and let the games begin!

Blessings,

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Thank you for your time and your comments.  I appreciate you!  PK

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May
20

Wordy Qwerty

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Have you ever noticed how young children love to rhyme words and names?  Inevitably, at some point in their young life, one of my children runs up to me to tell me something similar to – “she called me a lazy-daisy” or “he said I’m such a twirly-girly.”  Outside, during a game of tag, I’ll often hear, “na-na, boo-boo, you can’t catch me.”

Dance Coach – Nancy, easily becomes Dancy Nancy

Soccer Coach – Ricky = Kicky Ricky

Voice Coach – Sylvester, is surely Talky Rocky

Word Coach – Qwerty, is none other than Wordy Qwerty

 

My kids have been working with a word coach, “to build reading and writing fluency” and he actually goes by the name, Wordy Qwerty.  He gets his name from the top, left-hand row of letters on a keyboard – Q.W.E.R.T.Y.    (I’ve noticed that many electronic toddler toys now come with a QWERTY keyboard, as opposed to a keyboard in ABC  order.  I think it makes the transition to typing/keyboarding much easier.)  Wordy Qwerty utilizes a writing to read approach of teaching.

 

Click logo for website

 

Qwerty and his musician-friend, Midi, are the creation of Jeannine Herron and the star characters of her Talking Fingers – Wordy Qwerty program.

 

Click for demo


Wordy Qwerty is a follow-up to Talking Fingers – Read, Write & Type system, but it easily stands on it’s own.  Designed for 7-10 years old, any student can use it.  It is my 9 year old son’s favorite program of the school year! My children already have basic keyboarding skills, but none of them have used Read, Write & Type, and they say that “using Wordy Qwerty is easy-peasy.”

 

Click to read the FAQs

 

20 lessons – 6 activities each

Qwerty helps students master activities and earn music spheres that they give to Midi.  The spheres enable Midi to build his marvelous music machine and make music.  This is a definite highlight of the program in our house.

Jeannine Herron has developed 6 steps that guide a child in acquiring reading and writing fluency:

 

  • Patterns – recognizing that most words follow about 20 easy spelling rules.

 

 

  • Karaoke – catchy, stick-in-your-head songs for each of the 20 spelling rules.  Learning that some sounds can be represented in several ways.

 

 

  • Recycler – there are many word families.  By changing the first letter, you can make hundreds of words.  We make things rhyme all the time.

 

 

  • Pop-a-Word – quickly, and automatically recognizing that some words are “outlaws”, they consistently break the spelling rules.

 

 

  • Write Stories – using rhymes, memory and dictation to build vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency, while developing spelling skills.

 

 

  • Read Stories – reading and filling in missing words, increases vocabulary, comprehension and fluency skills.

 

 

 

Click on the scope and sequence graphic, below, to try lesson 1 – Silent E – FREE.

 

 

All home online subscriptions are for 5 years.  Licensing is available for 1-5 users, for $25.00-$71.25  or you can order the CD home edition, for $35.00.  Talking Fingers also lists the option of purchasing both home editions, Read, Write & Type and Wordy Qwerty, for $99.00.

 

Please, take the time to watch this 5 minute, YouTube video of Wordy Qwerty.  It will give you a great overview of the system.

 

 

 

 

Contact:

Talking Fingers, Inc.

830 Rincon Way

San Rafael, CA  94903

phone:

415.472.3103

email:

contact@talkingfingers.com

blog:

Let’s Talk About Reading, Writing and the Brain

 

Click graphic to follow facebook page

and

Find additional reviews by clicking the TOS Crew banner, below.

 

 

I hope you’ll let me know what you think of this product…  It was an answer to my “need spelling curriculum” prayer, this year, with the bonus of reading, writing and typing practice.

 

Blessings,

 

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

As always – I value your feedback.  Thanks,  PK

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