Archive for Vocabulary

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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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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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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