Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weave Your Word In Me (Prayer/Bible Study Curriculum Review)

I was very pleased to be included on this latest review of   Weave Your Word in Me -- Part 1 a 36 week curriculum focusing on The Lord's Prayer. Kid Niche Christian Books is truly filling an empty niche with this 2 part series for tweens. I don't know if you've noticed, but there really aren't that many books on prayer for this age group. Search "prayer" in the children's book category, and you'll find MANY wonderful books for the earliest listener/reader, but only a smattering are available for this age group that can be often overlooked. 

bible study/prayer curriculumWeave Your Word in Me is a full year curriculum centered around The Lord's Prayer. It comes three-hole-punched, and ready to insert in a binder. The weekly lessons are short, generally taking 1-3 sides of a sheet of paper.

The structure follows the nine verses of a rythmic poem/prayer My Whole Self Before You that is fashioned after the Lord's Prayer. Two of the verses focus on God the Father, two of the verses focus on God the Son, three of the verses focus on what God wants from us (how we should live), and the last two verses focus on the God the Spirit. This first part in the series covers the God the Father and God the Son. The second part of the series finishes with What God Wants from us, and God the Spirit (in 44 lessons).

detail of study format pageThe lessons that follow each verse of the poem include the verse in a text box that runs the length of the page. You can choose to have your child memorize the verse intentionally, but there is also the possibility that just with weekly repetition on the page it will be internalized.

details of lesson pageAs I mentioned, the lessons are short, and follow a little bit of a format, but with enough variety to keep things interesting. There will always be at least one Scripture passage to look up, and each lesson always ends with a fill-in-the-blank model prayer, to show your child how they can pray (have you ever heard "I don't know what to say!" when you ask your child to pray?). I am not fond of "rote prayer" personally, but a little guidance is a good thing, and sometimes not coming from Mom and Dad is a nice thing.

detail of lesson page
What changes in each lesson is the way the verses are approached. Sometimes it's a basic question/answer format, others there are fill-in-the-blank sections, draw your answer, underline, match, circle, etc...  The pages are illustrated, but not so much that a tween will feel babied, just the right amount so that they aren't overwhelmed with only text on the page.

Because we participate in AWANA and have Sunday School, I don't like to add a huge amount of extra Bible work to my son's days (Because he's already doing daily work), but the lessons in Weave Your Word In Me add just enough to our day.

Compatible with the following Bible translations: KJV, ESV, NKJV, NIV, NASB and NABRE
You can find samples from the book on the product page linked below.

Kid Niche Weave Your Word in Me Graphic Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
You can visit Kid Niche Christian Books on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Musical Nuggets of Gold (Free Downloads for a limited time)

Time for a few Nuggets of Gold! It's been FARRRRR too long since I've written one of these posts!

New Music for the weary soul is available for download!

First up, from Free CCM

The latest is Micah Tyler's Directions from his Different album. If you listen to Christian Radio, you've probably heard his song Never Been A Moment, which was nominated for a Dove Award. He was one of our favorite sounds of the summer of 2017. ;)

The other two songs available on FreeCCM are pretty diverse~
Stones by rapper/rocker Manafest

and collective Pyramid Park's Born to be Brave 
Even if I didn't like the concept/lyric much, I might listen to it for the accents... ;) 

Another of my favorite places to check out new music is Hear It First, although it's difficult to know exactly what track they are offering for download until you actually download it from the link they send in your email... :p

Personally I wasn't a huge fan of James Gardin's Right Now~ seemed a little too ... needy... made bad choices, now he wants his girl back. :p If he's actually talking about God, well, this is one of those ambiguous songs that I like even less... (just so you know what you'll be getting before you hit the submit button~ you can look it up on Spotify if you want to check it out yourself. )

Fans of Audrey Assad may enjoy the very mellow
Wood and Nails on Work Songs: The Porter's Gate Worship Project~

Sandra McCracken Live can also be found on Spotify~ I don't know which song is offered as the free download on Hear It First as she wasn't exactly our cup of tea...

Won't Let Me Go by John Tibbs is a high energy tune...
You won't let me go
And I will not fear, when the earth gives way
And the lightning strikes, and the oceans rage
You'll stand by me, I'll never walk alone
You won't let me go

The Legacy Live PlanetShakers song Prophecy wasn't exactly what I'd listen to, but some might enjoy it, so I suggest looking it up on Spotify. :)

Armond Wakeup is a rapper/spoken word artist.
His mellow song Sweeter might be worth a listen if you're into that genre

OK, that's about it for now~ grab them while they are still around!!! And if you pick any of them up, let me know your favorites in the comments~ I'd love to hear from you! 


Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Foto...(Foliage)

Days like today make me appreciate the beauty of New England living...


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reading Eggs (Reading Eggspress Review)

I reviewed Reading Eggs with my Youngest as a beginning reader a couple of years ago (Whoops! Make that review 5+ years ago~ man time flies!), and it was one of the programs that he really enjoyed, even asking as recently as this year if he could use it, even though he had surpassed the age range/reading ability of the main program. ;) YOu can imagine he was very pleased to be on the review again, so that we could try out the program for older elementary students, Reading Eggspress. If you aren't familiar with Reading Eggs at all, here is a quick rundown of the basic programs they offer:

  • Reading Eggs Junior for 2-4 year olds (pre-readers)
  • Reading Eggs for 4-7 years old (beginning readers) 
  • Reading Eggspress for for 7-13 years old (fluent readers) 
  • and their non-reading program, Mathseeds for children aged 3-9

I received a 6 month subscription to Reading Eggs, which allowed me to access every part of the program. Reading Eggs is offering Homeschool Review Crew readers a four week Free Trial if you click through this link, so that you can check them all out as well, if you have children in the 2-13 year old range.

Program Set up
Your child will take an placement test when first accessing the lessons (which is probably the only difficulty we've had~ my son took the test on the ipad, and wished that there was a "submit" button for each problem, as a couple of times his finger slipped and hit an answer that was wrong, but it submits automatically, so he ended up in a level that may be a bit below his actual abilities. However, that being said, I appreciate the level he ended up in, as he is learning to be more careful with his answers. ;) If I was truly dissatisfied with his level, Reading Eggs offers the ability for the parent to adjust the level manually or have the student take the placement test again. This is true for the reading and math programs both.

Sample placement test question. Test continues until 2 questions are missed
Once the placement test is taken, your student can continue directly to their Reading Eggs dashboard where they can access the various areas of the program.

The central location contains the meat of the program, the Lessons. Each Lesson contains 9 or 10 activities that must be passed in order to continue to the next lesson on their map. Parents can keep track of progress on the parent dashboard as well as through progress reports sent directly to their email.
  • English Skills contains the Reading Eggs Spelling program
  • The Stadium offers the opportunity to pit their knowledge in Spelling, Grammar, Vocabulary, or Usage against other Reading Eggs users across the world. 

  • The Library contains a variety of books to read, and each book comes with built in comprehension quizzes. I would recommend keeping an eye on the books your child is reading, as there may be those that you wouldn't care for your child to read (one of the "books of the day" highlighted in the library the day I chose to take screenshots for this review was "The Trouble With Boyfriends" ~ not exactly what the target age for this program should be reading in my opinion, but to each his own... The other book of the day was on Railroads, so would be much more appealing to my 10 year old son. :) ) 

The library allows kids to browse a variety of reading genres and search for topics, but again, be aware of what they are choosing. ;) As with any library there are good books and twaddle..

Extras at the back of a book on the Civil War

  • Targets offers challenges to help students make use of the various aspects of the program
  • The Mall, the Apartments, The Trophy Room, and the Arcade are the "fun" parts of the program that let your child utilize his accumulated points (reading eggs earned by reading and answering questions)  This is one of my son's favorite things, and his incentive to do more than I ask each day. :) 
In addition to the electronic program, Reading Eggs offers printable bonus materials. 

  • Activity sheets that correspond to each lesson for Reading Eggs and Mathseeds  (Homeschool Worksheets with an overview for the parent instructor and printable worksheets to reinforce each lesson, and Color ) and Reading Eggspress (English comprehension and Spelling Worksheets that correspond to each lesson).

  • Parent User Guide which shows how to use the program and contains Lesson Overviews (scope and sequence) for Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress.

  • Homeschool Program that offers a schedule for the whole year for grades K-2 covering Reading, Math, Science, and Social Studies, utilizing books in the Reading Eggs library of over 2500 titles.

While there are a few books/topics I would prefer to weed out, by and large, I appreciate the approach to phonics (which thankfully main stream education is coming back to), comprehension, and basic reading skills. 

If this is something you are interested in, you have nothing to lose by signing up for that Four Week Free Trial mentioned at the beginning of my review. 

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: Reading Eggs
  • Product: Six Month Subscription Reading Eggs Products
  • Ages: 2 years old - 13 years old
  • Price: 
    • 6 month subscription: $49.95
    • 1 year subscription: $59.95
    • Discounts for 2nd and 3rd children using the program (50% off)
You can visit Reading Eggs on their Social Media Pages:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say about Reading Eggspress, as well as Reading Eggs, Reading Eggs Junior, and Mathseeds. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

CTCMath (Single Membership review~ Focus on 5th grade, but available for K-12)

My Youngest was very pleased that we were selected to receive a One Year Single Membership to CTCMath for review (other Crew members received a Family Membership, so be sure to check out their reviews if you are interested in having more than one kiddo using this program). Also be sure to check out the specials that are current at the time of posting (offers expire November 15, 2017) for a Free Trial, and another for 60% off + 6 bonus months!

OK, now that I have those details out of the way... you may remember that I reviewed CTC a couple of years ago with both my Youngest and my Middlest using the program.
Youngest was happy to be on this review, as he has decided that generally speaking he prefers an electronic version of math over a textbook math (at the moment, anyway).

Here's a quick little intro to give you a feel for CTC math:

While the program can be accessed via computer, once again my son preferred to do his lessons on the ipad. I appreciate that this is an option, as it frees up the computer for other uses while he does his math. ;)

For a quick overview~ We are using the 5th grade level, but CTC Math is available for grades K- Grade 12. The lessons are accessed online, as I mentioned above, either on computer or most tablets and phones, which can be handy.

The lessons are grouped by topic and then subtopic.

For example, 5th Grade Math has 4 main categories, 19 sub-categories, and approximately 115 lessons. The main categories are:
  • Numbers, Patterns, and Algebra
  • Measurement
  • Space and Geometry
  • Statistics and Probability
The subtopics are seen to the right, and each one of those is broken down into the individual lessons. 

A full listing of all the topics can be downloaded from CTC's FAQ's page ("Freedom to review other grades" section).

The Lessons are taught by Pat Murray, a Math teacher from Down Under in Sydney, Australia. His philosophy is to teach short a short lesson (4-9 minutes) via a whiteboard, and then have the students work through a number of those particular problems. On average completing a lesson should take around 15 minutes. If you have a perfectionist (Did I say that? ;), it may take longer, as they strive to reach a 100% rating.

I like the ability to check and see how he's doing by clicking on the reports button, and he likes the ability to keep track of his rating. :) If you wish, you can also have weekly reports sent to your email, or even to a grandparent's email, if you like.

Here is a longer video (about 10 minutes) that will give you a very good overview of CTC Math~ It focuses a little more on the higher level maths, so if you have a high school student, you may want to invest a few minutes to see how CTC works for high school.

Back to our experiences... ;)

There are 3 diagnostic test options for each subtopic: Short (20 questions), Standard (30 questions), and Comprehensive (40 questions)

You can use the short one as a pretest, and have your student take the Comprehensive test when they complete all the lessons in a given subtopic, or use them however you like. ;)

If your student needs some reinforcement, there are also lesson summaries that cover the same material as the video, but in more "Text" format on the screen. This is handy for a quick glance over, or, in my son's case, to review a topic that he was familiar with, but for which he didn't watch the video lesson.

Overall, we really like CTCMath, especially for the elementary math years. I like the immediate feedback, and the fact that *I* don't have to grade the papers (which means I can be making dinner instead!). If you think CTCMath is something you'd like to look at, be sure to check out those specials I mentioned at the beginning of the review for the Free Trial, and the homeschool discount 60% off + 6 bonus months available through November 15, 2017.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
  • Company: CTCMath 
  • Product: One Year Subscription 
  • Ages: K-12th Grade
  • Price: 
    • Single Membership
      • $29.97 Monthly
      • $197.00 Annual
    • Family Membership
      • $39.97 Annual
      • $297.00Monthly
You can visit CTC on any of their social media channels:
Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest, or YouTube 

Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Super Teacher Worksheets (review of a fantastic resource!)

We tend towards more organic learning in my household in the early years particularly, but every once in a while I appreciate having the ability to find some worksheets/printable pages to add to studies, and to have something physical to submit for our portfolio at the end of the year. This is where the Individual Membership from Super Teacher Worksheets can come into play.

Here are the basic categories available:

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten worksheets
  • Phonics and Early Literacy
  • Reading and Writing
  • Handwriting (cursive and manuscript)
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Chapter book Units
  • Math
  • Science Worksheets
  • Social Studies Worksheets
  • Holiday oriented worksheets
  • Puzzles and Brain Teasers
  • Teaching Tools 
  • Worksheet Generators
Within each category there are M-A-N-Y subcategories and options, too numerous to list here. :) You can visit the site to see those, as well as download some free pages, which will help you to get a feel for everything that is available to members.

My youngest is on the upper end of the age range, as these pages are geared towards grades Pre-K- 5 (with some up to grade 6), but I found a wide variety of pages that were suitable for our use.

For instance, we were working on a literature unit that was talking about a variety of living creatures. I checked Super Teacher Worksheets, and was amazed to discover that they had an article on WORMS (one of the creatures we discussed). I had my son read the article, and then printed up the comprehension worksheet and a scrambled words worksheet based on that article.

Another day we talked about butterflies and moths, 
and found an article and worksheet for that as well!

Fish? Yes, sir! Although this time the "worksheets" were more puzzle oriented (from the Puzzles and Brain Teasers Category), I discovered the Cipher Wheel and Secret Code Facts page, which included a set of "Secret Code Facts" for fish. I printed up and put together the cipher wheel for my son, and printed up the secret code pages, assigning him specific codes to crack (not every one, in order).

This was a fun way to learn a little bit more about fish!

I think at the moment the Puzzles and Brain Teasers Category is my favorite section for my son's age. ;)
I discovered a animal classification cootie catcher that I printed up for our use... one of many printable cootie catchers... does that bring you back? ;)

Some of the worksheets are more typical (as seen above with the worms and butterflies and moths graphics), but even math practice can be a little more fun. While we already do a variety of multiplication warm-ups (and you can find many options for practicing multiplication table on the Super Teach Worksheets website, including but not limited to flash cards, regular worksheets, timed quizzes, drills, charts, and more), there are also some options that include cootie catchers (Really? How fun is that! :) , multiplication riddles, printable games, and more. So many options! Here's one I chose to use... a hidden picture coloring page for one of the days when he just needed a little down time.

There are sooooo many worksheets and fun options 
~ I am impressed with this website membership! ~

If you don't have a spelling program, you can find that. 
Need graphic organizers for writing exercises? They have those. 
I already mentioned the many math options. 
Homophones, Homographs, Double Negatives (in ELA)... 
Almost any subject you want to cover/reinforce can be found.

If you have an early learner, there are oodles of pages from cutting skills to ABC's (not just regular recognition pages, but letter order pages and more...) to Phonics Word Wheels, Mini Phonics Books, Cut and Paste activities (think- sentence order), Skip Counting, Right and left worksheets, and so much more!
(Did I mention they have many worksheets translated into Spanish, and also many for our neighbors to the north with Canadian-English spellings.)

Really, if this is anything you are remotely interested in, you ought to consider visiting their website~ it really is SUPER (and I don't often enthuse over worksheets....)

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
You can visit Super Teacher Worksheets on their social media pages
Please click the banner below to visit the TOS Homeschool Review Crew and see what others had to say. As always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where best to spend your homeschool budget.
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