Archive for Writing

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!

 

library1

 

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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Aug
27

Making Time 4 Writing

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Click graphic for Course Overview

High School Grammar, Usage and Mechanics covers:

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Comments or Questions?

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

or

Click to follow on facebook

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   I was given access to an 8-week online course from Time4Writing in exchange for my honest review, as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  I receive no other compensation for my reviews on this blog.  The opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

 

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

 

 

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Aug
08

How to Create Better Writers

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I want my children to know how to write intelligent, descriptive sentences, and have a well developed vocabulary.  I want them to know how to write great stories, strong essays, and research reports.  I want them to have every confidence that they are fully prepared for the SAT/ACT College Writing Exam. 

A road map would be appreciated!  What do I teach?  When do I teach it?  How do I teach different educational levels at the same time?

 

Reading and using

The Homeschool Writing Action Plan,

written by David Dye, the author of

is like winning an exclusive, one-on-one consultation that answers my questions, and relieves my doubts.  In his easy, step-by-step manner, Mr. Dye presents the major writing concept that every student needs to succeed!  While he has also written his own writing curriculum, How to Teach the Paragraph and How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay, he actually gives you the ability and the confidence to organize any writing curriculum into one, workable program.  It’s amazing what 54 pages can accomplish!

The Homeschool Writing Action Plan can be purchased as an e-book, for $15.95, or printed, soft bound for $19.95.

Click graphic to purchase.

How to Teach a Paragraph is built on one simple writing “trick,” as David Dye calls it, that is mastered by the student.  The concept that is taught is foundational to great writing and can be used with every subject.

Click the graphic to watch a video demo of the trick.

This is working for us!  I have seen clear improvement in writing and in some attitudes approaching writing, since using this program.

How to Teach a Paragraph is 22 pages, covering 11 Steps ~

  1. Assessment:  Students write a Paragraph
  2. Learning the Five Parts of a good Paragraph
  3. Memorize the Five Parts of a Paragraph
  4. The Paper Set-up
  5. Write a Paragraph together:  The Prewrite
  6. Write a Paragraph together:  The Paragraph
  7. Topic Sentence
  8. Closing Sentences
  9. Paragraph Assessment
  10. Practice, Practice, Practice!
  11. The Perfect Paragraph

 

“The ability to organize one’s thoughts and communicate ideas clearly is the backbone of good writing.”  Once my younger children fully grasp the trick to writing one paragraph, I think the transition to writing five paragraphs, for an essay, will no longer be intimidating.  The difference in my older ones is already notable, and we have barely opened the cover of How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay.

How to Teach the Paragraph is available as an e-book only, for $7.99, but it is free when you purchase How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay  for $17.95 e-book version, or $19.95 for a soft bound book.  The Complete Writing Program  includes both of these books for free, plus much more, because it’s  “a workshop in a book!”

Please, follow the links I’ve provided throughout this post.  There are videos, sample pages, and details listed on the Create Better Writers website.  You can also read the reviews written by my Crew mates, when you click on the banner below ~

 

 

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

Email – dye.teach@verizon.net

or

Call – 562.627.5662

This product has so positively impacted our writing that I am seriously considering acquiring  Standard Based Grammar – Home School Edition, too.  It’s a grammar curriculum written by David Dye, claiming to give a “thorough understanding of the English language.”  If you happen to purchase it before I do, let me know what you think of it.

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*   An e-book edition of this product 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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Apr
13

Remarkable – writing with WORLD

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It’s simple enough, really.  If it had never been written, it could never be read.  So much would have been lost, from then to now, if it had not been written.  If the truth is not written, today, we may not have it tomorrow.  Writing well is much more than using correct grammar and vocabulary, and it is one of the greatest challenges a student will face.  It allows us to clearly express our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.  “Christians in particular should try to be the best communicators.  They possess The Truth and need to articulate a Biblical worldview.”  It is our job, as parents and educators, to teach our children how to write.

The publishers of God’s World News and WORLD magazine, together with education and media professionals, have developed an exciting *new writing curriculum.  Write with WORLD is a two year writing curriculum geared for middle school.  It adapts easily for grades 6 – 10.

 

Click graphic to view Sample Lesson

 

 

Year ONE and year TWO each consist of a non-consumable Student Text, a Teacher’s Edition – including the full student text, and an annual web site access pass.  The curriculum is completed, and the books are ready for shipment this summer, 2012.  The final dynamics of the web site are being polished, giving students access to the education and encouragement of journalists, photojournalists, essayists, editors, authors, and professors.

Write with WORLD concentrates on developing young writers who can think and express their thoughts through writing.  Students using Write with WORLD are connected to other writers – WORLD journalists, writer’s from God’s World News, celebrated writing professors, and student authors.  Students will benefit from these writer’s advice.  They will respond to timely and thoughtful assignments that encourage them to discuss ideas and language with teachers.  The potential for publication will energize students, giving them purpose and audience.”

Each unit is broken down into smaller lessons.  Stimulating assignments, many relevant to today, are given.  Small steps and achievements are acknowledged, built upon, corrected and improved along the way.  This is not a – here’s the writing prompt – write your paper – have it corrected for errors –  get a grade, good or bad – learn the next set of writing rules – here’s the next writing prompt – curriculum.  Many of the developers of Write with WORLD have sat through similar, boring classes; so, they recognized the pitfalls to avoid.  Grammar, vocabulary, structure, essays, narratives and compositions are included, but it never seems forced on the student.  The students develop critical reading skills, learning to detect worldview clues in writing, and learning to write from the point of their own worldview.  This curriculum is more conversational and feels almost interactive.  My own reluctant writer’s were encouraged by their steady, easy progression.  As the parent/educator, I think it is a remarkable approach and I’m excited to see how it will impact my children!

~

Write with WORLD, Full Curriculum, Year ONE or Year TWO can be purchased for $95 each.

or

Purchase both, Year ONE and Year TWO, Full Curriculum for $165.

Click graphic for more information to order.

~

Contact:

Comments or Questions?

Write –

God’s World News

P.O. Box 20001

Asheville, NC  28802-8201

Email – mailbag@gwnews.com

or

Phone – 1.800.951.5437

~


You’ll find additional reviews, other opinions, and different perspectives when you follow the link included with the TOS graphic, below, and read what my crew mates have to say.

How well can you articulate your worldview?

Blessings,

 

 

Disclaimer*  A copy 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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Categories : Reading, reviews, Writing
Comments (1)
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
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
30

A Hope of Publication

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In our home it wouldn’t be difficult to find a writer or composer, a photographer or three, or a designer, an engineer, an architect or a young inventor.  I could show you stories and poetry, music and lyrics, photographs, sketches, drawings and paintings, structures and gadgets built out of Legos, or Lincoln Logs, tin cans and wooden pallets.  Presently, there are few copy righted, less recorded and none published.  It’s difficult enough for adults to break into their field, but often it is even harder for a teenager to find a respectable outlet for their work.

We’ve made a recent discovery, though, and it’s one that gives us hope.  Aletheia Writing Magazine is a Christian magazine for teens, by youth, ages 13-19 years old.  Pronounced Ah-Lay-thei-uh, it is the Greek word for “truth” or “unveiling.”

 

Click graphic to read FAQs 

 

A one year subscription, published quarterly, costs just $26 when delivered to an address in the United States.  That’s four issues, 40 color pages, including shipping and handling.  My children found it interesting that many of the writers and artists, contributing to the magazine, have been homeschooled.  They were also pleased that they did not find this publication full of cookie-cutter stories and articles.  Yes, faith and hope are evident throughout, and the publishers state that they “will not accept work that contains profanity, tasteless violence, or inappropriate sexual content,”  but you can see the individual author in his writing or art.

You’ll find – stories, poetry, articles, reviews, photographs and contests.  Every issue features:  a Writer’s Challenge, the Featured Contributor, a book review, Glory to God for the beauty of nature, Ancient Ink, and an interview.  Aletheia Writing Magazine has made their entire Spring 2011 issue available for you to preview, for free.  It is full of energy, creativity and a bold freedom of expression.

 

Content page from the current issue – Fall 2011

 

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact:

writealetheia@gmail.com

or

Aletheia Writing Magazine

P.O. Box 1602

Lansdale, PA  19446

facebook

 

You can also read other reviews of Aletheia on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Blog.

 

Although, we hope that a submission will be accepted for publication in Aletheia Writing Magazine, the opinions expressed in this review are my own, and were not coerced in any way.

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.  

 

 

Blessings,

 

*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
23

All Together

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When I began schooling my children at home, over 25 years ago, there weren’t many, if any, school materials geared toward home use.  Public and private school text books were adapted, by parents/teachers to meet individual needs. We did a lot of that. It took extra time, but it was possible.  We also taught from every-day-living.  We still do a lot of that. A general, life-is-school and school-is-life; there’s-a-lesson-in-every-thing, approach.  I would find a scope and sequence for a specific grade level and then pull-in and organize various resources to build our curriculum each year.  I clearly remember using books published by Houghton Mifflin, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Macmillan and Evan-Moor.  Eventually, we used Abeka Book and Bob Jones Press, but even those were originally written for private christian school use, and not homeschool.  There was so much busy-seat-work, because they were intended to keep a full classroom of student’s occupied.  Teacher’s editions weren’t available to the individual, either.  Everything had to be studied and done ahead of time, so answer keys could be written.  I am amazed and delighted at how far home education has come in the last 25 years!

Pearson Education is now the “world’s leading educational and professional publisher.”  You may recognize some of their brands:  Scott Foresman, Addison-Wesley, Prentice Hall, Longman, and many others.

 

Click logo to read history

 

Pearson is trusted and respected, drawing on a heritage that stretches back to 1725, when Thomas Longman published the first book, typeset by Benjamin Franklin.  They provide products, programs and services, in every subject, for PreK-20.

 

Click cover for pricing guide

 

I received the Scott Foresman, Social Studies – All Together, 1st Grade text book, for review.  It is high-gloss, hard-bound, with bold, brilliant, color pictures on every page!  It is not written for homeschool use, but it is a great supplement to any social studies curriculum.  Interestingly enough, I was not given a teacher’s edition or any of the additional teaching aids/tools that are available; so, it was just like the good-ole-days.  I had to pay attention to the text, as we read it, so that I, too, could correctly answer the review questions at the end of each unit.  My 6 year old thought it was so funny that I had to do the same work that she had to do!

All-Together teaches students “what it means to be citizens of this nation – that respect, caring, responsibility, fairness, courage, and honesty are the pillars that make us strong.”  In each unit, there are pages dedicated to Citizen Heroes, and on the upper right corner of the page, one of the six pillars is highlighted.  Because of the consistency of the layout, my daughter would go to that area of the page, first, to see which pillar we were about to read.

 

Citizen Heroes

 

The following companies, and others, are partners-in-education with Pearson:

 

 

 

Their contribution is evident in the content and format of the book –

 

Dorling Kindersley

 

 

 

 

 

You open the over-size book to find a full-color Social Studies Handbook.  My young student was drawn-in completely and couldn’t wait to discover what was on the next page and the next page and…

 

 

We did put a home spin on the units.  Most of them had a reference to school or the bus or the cafeteria, etc.  “Your cafeteria is too noisy.  Tell steps you would take to solve the problem.”  We talked about the noise of living in a big family; what noises we liked, which ones we’d rather not hear and how to get more of one and less of the other.  We also discussed what it might feel like to eat lunch with others that you might not know very well.  Everything was adaptable and useful as a teaching element, even if it wasn’t used exactly as the authors expected.  That is the beauty and flexibility of schooling at home, though, isn’t it.

 

 

Unit 1 – Time for School
Unit 2 – In My Community
Unit 3 – Work! Work! Work!
Unit 4 – Our Earth, Our Resources
Unit 5 – This is Our Country

 

 

 

Map and Globe Skills
Biographies
Songs and Poems
Chart and Graph Skills
Vocabulary
Atlas
Picture Glossary
History and more

 

 

 

“…God shed His grace on thee…”

“…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Our country’s motto is ‘In God We Trust.”

 

This was actually the first thing I looked for – does Pearson Education keep God where our Founding Fathers placed Him, over our Nation?  I’m pleased to say that in Social Studies – All Together they certainly do.

 

The student edition of this book is $43.47.  There is also a teacher’s edition, workbook and answer key, planning guide, resource package, readers, map tools, video field trips and more. Please note that some items can only be purchased with PO or school credit card, which is not homeschool friendly.

 

Click graphic for companion site!

 

There is free access to a companion site:  with a Social Studies library (dictionary, encyclopedia, and almanac), Current Events (In the News and Time for Kids), an Atlas (world & U.S. geography, facts and tools); “This Day In History” (attaches a when to a what or who), “Meet the People” (people & biographies), and Activities (by state, grade level/book and unit).  This site is full of information, plus it’s fun and easy to navigate.  Free downloads at Symbols of America, too!

 

 

 

Contact:

phone:  1.800.848.9500

Pearson

K12 Customer Service

P.O. Box 2500

Lebanon, IN  46052

 

My mates at TOS reviewed Social Studies – All Altogether – 1st Grade, enVision Math – 1st Grade; Reading Street – 2nd Grade.  Click the banner below to read all about it!

 

 

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 for your comments.  I appreciate YOU!


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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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May
06

A New Friend

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If you’ve read many of my blog posts you have probably figured out that reading is fairly high on my list of wonderful things to do.  I’ve mentioned before that I hope to pass the love of all-things-bookish on to my children.  As a child, I learned, and now I teach, that, among other things,  reading allows one to travel – sometimes even through space and time; to meet new people and make new friends – real and imaginary – past and present.

I was recently introduced to Kregel Publications and author, Susan K. Marlow.  My youngest daughters met little miss Andrea Carter, Andi to her family and friends, on the Circle C Ranch.

My young one is six years old and so is Andi.  Andi has a pony; lives out west in the late 1800’s, and has to go to school in a schoolhouse.  We don’t own any horses.  We’ve always lived in the east and we certainly don’t live in the late 1800’s  (although many aspects would be a blessing, I admit I would miss having a washer and dryer, refrigerator, bread maker, cell phone and internet.)  We only leave home for school, if we’re going on a field trip or a picnic.  So…

Andi’s Scary School Days was a perfect adventure for my girls!  They were excited to turn every page.  Circle C Beginnings is a series of books written for 6-8 years old, but my big girl enjoyed Andi’s antics as much as her younger sister did.  There are four titles available now and two more due to be released in August of this year.

 

Click graphic for publishers discount

Since I have September birthdays still ahead, I think the whole set will make a great gift.  They are $4.99 each, but you get 30% off, now through August 31st, when you purchase directly from the publisher.  Just enter HOME11 during check out.  If you purchase from Susan’s website, you won’t find a discount, but you can order personalized copies.

These are wholesome, moral, entertaining and educational stories for our children.  There are free downloads available – Activity Packs with coloring pages – correlating to each book.  Vocabulary, math, writing, maps, history and more.  The illustrations, by Leslie Gammelgaard, can be copied and colored.

 

Circle C Beginnings are actually prequels to Susan K. Marlow’s already popular series, Circle C Adventures.  The adventures are written for 8-16 years old and feature a preteen  Andrea Carter and her grown horse, Taffy.  My daughters have suggested that “it would be nice if Ms. Susan continued to write about Andrea as she gets older; so she can get married and have a daughter or son of her own, and the adventures can go on and on through time and maybe across country.”  I love that they are invested in the story line.  How cool is that!

You can contact Susan K. Marlow on facebookclick the Circle C Beginnings graphic below or write to Susankmarlow@kregel.com. She loves to hear from her readers…

 

facebook page


It has been a pleasure to meet Kregel Publications.  They have Biblically based resources with a backlist of over 900 titles.

 

  • Biblical Studies
  • Pastoral Resources
  • Christian Living
  • Fiction
  • and many others

 

  • The Pictoral Guide Series, for middle-school and high-school age readers is definitely worth exploring

 

TOS Homeschool Review Crew members received one of Susan K. Marlow’s books from the Circle C Beginnings Series; so, you’ll want to read what they have to say – click the banner below for individual opinions.


 

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.

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