Monday, March 26, 2012

Goal Planning Monday -- March 26th

I have a confession to make this week. I wrote my update on Sunday afternoon and was going to put the finishing touches on it this afternoon. I couldn't stand that I had unfinished goals to report. I spent some time this evening boxing up the rest of the school materials so that I could cross that off of my to-do list. I think this Goal Planning accountability works for me.

How I did on last week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, a clean desk, a reasonable inbox, Bible reading, and bedtime. B- I could do a lot better; I've gotten to the end of the days and just sort of quit instead of finishing strong.

2. Neatly put away all of the school materials, and find a way to share the things that I don't want to keep anymore. Mostly Done. All of it is in boxes that need to be moved back up into the attic, and there's only one neat pile of books to pass along to someone else who will use them.

3. Run. Two out of the three times I was hoping for.

4. Make significant progress on the baby blankets I'm working on. The first blanket just needs the ends sewn in.

5. Start to write down homeschool plans for next year. I also need to read the book I have on homeschooling a High Schooler. A good start.

This week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, a clean desk, a reasonable inbox, Bible reading, and bedtime. (More consistently than I did last week.)

2. Run three times, probably 2 miles each because I'm still building back up. I've already done one time (this afternoon).

3. Sew in all the ends for the pink baby blanket and take a picture to share.

4. Finish cleaning up all the school materials and straighten the sunroom.

5. Finish cleaning all the weeds out of the front flowerbeds and plant some new flowers by the mailbox.

6. Meal planning. Again. I feel like this keeps coming around, but I do like doing it two weeks at a time better than every weekend.

If you'd like to join me setting a few goals this week, please feel free to link up at Mama Manuscripts weekly meme here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: I See Sam

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After several years of teaching preschoolers and then watching my three children learn to read, I've realized that no two children learn at the same pace. I liken it to learning to walk. Some kids learn to walk at 8 months old and others wait until they're way over a year old. It's not necessarily that one child is more skilled than another, it's just the way two children are wired differently. For reading, I've found that some children jump from sounding out short words to reading long stories almost overnight. Other children need a lot more practice at the beginning reader level.

I have lots of books on my shelves that could be appropriate for a beginning reader. I also know that our library has a large selection of easy readers. None of those is exactly what I've been looking for lately. Lauren (age 6) has been using a phonics/reading program since last Fall. She knows a lot of sight words, and she can sound out most short vowel words. Unfortunately, she still doesn't read well enough to tackle most of the books I found.

Our perfect answer came with a box of Little Books from Academic Success for All Learners. The company grew out of extensive research conducted at Utah State University. Perhaps the best known of their products is their Little Books -- 141 colored coded readers often referred to as the I See Sam series. There are 8 sets of books from Kindergarten to a third grade reading level.

Lauren started with the Level 1 books. The first book only required her to read three words -- I, see, Sam. With just those words and lots of great illustrations, we found an enjoyable story about a rat and his friend Sam. Lauren loves the funny stories. The earlier books rely a lot on the illustrations to get the point across, and I'm impressed that these beginning reading books have stories that we actually enjoy. 

From an adult standpoint, I like the way that they use a nontraditional sequence of introducing words. They introduce new sounds and words slowly, but they aren't necessarily using word families. These books aren't filled with rhyming words and is doesn't sound like Lauren's reading a Dr. Seuss book. So far we haven't read any stories about the ever popular fat cat that sat on a mat, either.


Not only do the stories sound more realistic, the way they introduce the sounds has taught her to pay close attention to every letter in a word. If she's not focused, it's easy for her to mix up Mat (the rat) and Mit (the monkey). Other characters are Sam (the lion), Sim (the elephant) and Sis (the snake). 
As Lauren has worked through all of the Level 1 (red) books and about half of the Level 2 (orange) books, I've found that the books slowly increase in difficulty. Occasionally, she'll find a book that's a bit of a struggle. In that case, we regroup and she tries again the next day. Really, though, they are introducing words and sounds at the perfect pace for her.

Not every child needs the intensive practice that the I See Sam books provide, just like some kids skip right over the cruising stage and start running around the house at eight months old. If you do have a child that's working on building reading skills, these books are perfect.

PhotobucketEarlier this week, Lauren asked me what we were going to read while we wait to get the yellow books (level 3). She's sold on these books, and I am too.

I See Sam Readers come in sets for 8 different levels, and each set costs $30. You can see the specific skills covered and the number of stories in each level in the downloadable Scope and Sequence chart. I was quite impressed with the samples I've seen from the more advanced sets.

As always, if you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about their Little Books, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received Set 1 and Set 2 Little Books as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Goal Planning Monday -- March 19, 2012

This week is Spring Break in our area. As much as I'm trying to carry on as normal, Spring Break for everyone else has sort of turned our normal routines upside down -- different therapy times, cancelled evening activities, an all day service project, friends with free time, etc. I'm still trying to press on with some semblance of our normal days. (And lest you think I'm a homeschooling slave master, my kids already had a mini Spring Break in February and we have more days off planned in April and May.)

How I did on last week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, a clean desk, bedtime, and Bible reading. DONE. (It wasn't 100% perfect, but I'm slowly building good habits.)

2. Clean out my email inbox. DONE. My inbox is now in the single digits. WOW!!!

3. Sort through all the school materials that I drug out of the attic and dumped in the sunroom. I want to get everything organized before our move this summer. HALFWAY. I guess my goal just said to sort, and they're mostly sorted. The problem now is that there's a dozen stacks spread out in the sunroom.

4. Make a menu plan (and shopping list) for the next two weeks. DONE. I even did all the grocery shopping for two weeks.

This week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, a clean desk, a reasonable inbox, Bible reading, and bedtime.

2. Neatly put away all of the school materials, and find a way to share the things that I don't want to keep anymore.

3. Run. I've found that my knee is healed enough to be out running, but unfortunately, I've gotten out of the habit of making time in the day to exercise. I ran this afternoon and plan to run two more times this week.

4. Make significant progress on the baby blankets I'm working on. One of them is perhaps a quarter done, and then I have the matching one to do also.

5. Start to write down homeschool plans for next year. I also need to read the book I have on homeschooling a High Schooler.

If you'd like to join me setting a few goals this week, please feel free to link up at Mama Manuscripts weekly meme here.

Review: Action Alert

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We've all heard all sorts of stories about the dangers lurking on the internet. As a parent, I have a love-hate relationship with the wealth of knowledge available online. I like that my children can interact with friends, take online classes, read reviews of whatever toy they'd like to buy next, and do all sorts of other things online. I don't like everything that they can be exposed to online. I'd love to find the balance between giving my children freedom to be online and protecting them from things that they shouldn't see online.

Action Alert offers 8 Internet Safety Tools in one: access control, activity notification alerts, activity video recording, site blocking, content filtering, keystroke logging,  and chat/email logging.

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The access controls require the computer to be set up as individual users (through Windows); each user can have specific times during the day when they are allowed online. Each user can also have specific allowed or blocked websites.  The activity video recording allows you to scroll through the previously accessed sites similar to the way you'd view a security camera recording.

According to Action Alert, their tools primarily work as an accountability devise. "Action Alert sends a message to your cell phone or e-mail when an event occurs that you should be aware of. This message lets parents know they should take a look at the computer and probably have a talk with their young computer user." In addition, Action Alert will allow a parent to remotely block the child's internet access if they receive such an alert message.

Instead of relying on an accountability tool, I'd rather prevent my children from accessing websites with questionable content in the first place. I was disappointed that my child could do a "safe search" using Action Alert for things most parents would not approve of. I tried this feature out myself. When I responded to the resulting alert message, it took about 10 minutes for the internet access to be shut off. A child could see a lot of questionable things during that long of a delay.

Action Alert offers a basic version of their internet protection product for free. The Maximum Protection product is $29.99. It allows multiple users and allows full social network monitoring. Action Alert is only available for use on Windows based computers.

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about Action Alert, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a download of Action Alert Maximum Protection as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday -- Reading with friends

March 2012
Approximately 5 years ago

Review: Progeny Press

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I've always been a big reader, and I've also been a very fast reader. Some people savor books, but I devour them. My oldest daughter is the same way. Although I love the fact that I can read lots of books, I do realize that reading quickly comes with a price. I often read so quickly through a book that I completely miss some of the best parts.

Progeny Press offers over 100 detailed literature study guides for all ages -- elementary through High School. All of the guides focus on critical thinking, comprehension, literary analysis, and Christian application. I was able to choose a guide at a middle school level and another at a high school level to use with my two oldest students. Brennan, our fifth grader, and I used The Bronze Bow Study Guide together. Addison, our eighth grader, worked through the Pride and Prejudice Study Guide mostly independently.

Progeny Press recommends that the student reads the entire novel during the first week and then working through the guide over the course of the next 8-12 weeks. It really didn't work for us to do that much reading in a single week, especially since I was reading The Bronze Bow aloud to Brennan. Instead, we read a section of the novel and then worked on the corresponding Study Guide materials. I was impressed with all that was included in each section of the Study Guide.

PhotobucketFor The Bronze Bow Study Guide, each unit covered approximately three chapters in the book. The activities for studying vocabulary varied from section to section and included crossword puzzles, multiple choice questions, matching sections, and just writing the dictionary definition. Each section then asked a series of factual, short-answer style questions designed to make sure that the student remembers details from the story. Thinking About the Story questions asks the student to share an opinion about what happened. For instance, "Why do you think Thacia refuses to greet Daniel?" There are also wonderful Dig Deeper sections that challenge the student to apply scriptures to a situation or character from the book. In one of the Dig Deeper questions for The Bronze Bow, we read several Old Testament scriptures and determined if they fit the view of the Messiah that Joel shares in the book. Over the course of the guide, various sections also covered setting, conflict, mood, theme, and symbolism.

I enjoyed using the Study Guide with Brennan. He did a few of the activities independently, but I primarily used it to guide our discussions. I'm pleased to report that we were able to discuss more than just who said what. As a teacher, I realize that I need a guide like this if I want us to truly analyze the story.

PhotobucketThe Pride and Prejudice Study Guide was similar in format to The Bronze Bow but was significantly longer (76 pages versus 60). I thought that the questions, especially the Dig Deeper questions, required quite a bit of thought and analysis. For instance, "God has blessed Lady Catherine with extreme riches and position and with authority over many people. Read Proverbs 28:11, Mark 10:42-44; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Titus 2:7-8. How does Lady Catherine's character measure up to these verses?" The Pride and Prejudice Study Guide is laid out so that it would take 14 weeks by doing a section per week. It could easily be expanded by using some of the optional activities and some of the essay suggestions. I would consider it a challenging semester long Literature course for a High School student.

Addison worked independently on the Pride and Prejudice Study Guide and says it greatly enhanced her reading of the book. She gave me an example taken from a question about irony and dramatic irony. When she initially read the scene in the book, she skipped right over the phrase, "Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections." When the study pointed out that piqued means to take pride in herself, Addison realized the humor Jane Austen intended when she noted that the person talking about pride was herself quite prideful. She also points out that the essay suggestions are not an integral part of the program. She was still able to do her other writing program and did not feel like she had to do the essay suggestions. The short answer questions she worked through were sufficient for literary analysis.

When I showed Addison this list of study guides available for high schoolers, she easily found a half-dozen that she'd like to do. As for me, I will likely purchase more of the Study Guides. I don't know that I want to do a detailed study on every book that I read with (or assign to) my children, but I see a lot of value in slowing down to analyze literature.

Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature range in cost from $10.99 (elementary level) to $18.99 (high school level) for the electronic version. They offer print copies or print copies including a CD version for a few dollars more. They do offer a 15% discount for military families.

If you'd like to hear what the other members of the review crew thought about Progeny Press Study Guides, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received two Study Guide downloads as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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Monday, March 12, 2012

Goal Planning Monday -- March 12, 2012

My quote of the week:

Goals that are not written down are just wishes. 
(source unknown)

I guess that's why I keep circling back to joining other bloggers and posting my goals each Monday.

How I did on last week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, bedtime, and Bible reading. Done, done, done, and done. I really do love waking up with everything ready to go.

2. My desk. DONE. My goal was to improve the mess, not necessarily to have everything perfectly organized and filed away.


3. Brennan's school area. DONE. It now holds more than just Brennan's schoolwork, and I like having some of my materials in a more accessible location. I also like that his assignments are neatly stacked on the top shelf instead of scattered in a pile on the floor. (The step stool is so that Lauren can share the markerboard and spelling tiles.)


4. Gather and send photo stuff to be processed using my Groupon. Close. I'm waiting for an email response from them before I dump everything in the box and take it to the post office. It's all waiting on my desk where it'll be in my way until I get it taken care of.

5. Post pictures. Mostly-done. I posted one set of pictures, and I scheduled a Wordless Wednesday to post later this week.

This week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, a clean desk, bedtime, and Bible reading.

2. Clean out my email inbox. I need to reduce it by at least 50%, 75% would be better. Confession: I wrote this entry over the weekend, and I had some extra time on Sunday. Instead of writing a few product reviews, I scanned through my inbox. I've already cleared out 50% of the messages I had (from 1200+ to about 550).

3. Sort through all the school materials that I drug out of the attic and dumped in the sunroom. I want to get everything organized before our move this summer.

4. Make a menu plan (and shopping list) for the next two weeks. Every week I dread figuring out what I'm going to cook for the following week. Perhaps it'll be slightly less torturous if I only have to do it every other week.

If you'd like to join me setting a few goals this week, please feel free to link up at Mama Manuscripts weekly meme here.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Little Dr. Seuss Fun

As many of you know, kids across America celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd. I found quite a few fun ideas here and there (mostly on Pinterest) and decided to add some of them into Lauren's Kindergarten schoolwork. We've been reading Dr. Seuss books and doing various activities for the past week and a half.
Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches an Egg
Rolling dice and adding the numbers together
Trying to find the words that rhyme
The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
A truffula tree (from The Lorax)
We've read at least eight Dr. Seuss books so far, and there are several more either in our library basket or on hold at the library. I think maybe we'll celebrate Dr. Seuss books all month long!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Review: Art of Argument

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My husband and I both laughed when I pulled out new school materials for Addison (our eighth grader). She really doesn't need help learning how to argue. In fact, many people have commented that they hope we're saving enough money to send her to law school. I'm not sure she needs help finding faults in other people's arguments either. It's not unusual to hear her critiquing a certain ad on a radio or billboard because it doesn't make sense or doesn't specifically tell why you should purchase that product. Nevertheless, I think logic and thinking skills are important for everyone to study.

PhotobucketThe Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press focuses on informal fallacies -- weak, poor, and fallacious arguments that occur in common language. The book identifies what is wrong with weak arguments but does not specifically teach how to build a strong argument. (Classical Academic Press offers The Argument Builder to teach students how to build sound and persuasive arguments.)

Addison has some previous experience with informal fallacies and was eager to study them at greater depth. The Art of Argument covers 28 fallacies, and we opted for her to study two per week so that this would be a semester long course.

The student workbook is written in a conversational style, with each fallacy having a two to three page explanation and several more pages of examples. Addison says that it would be beneficial to discuss the fallacy with either an adult or other students. It was sometimes a bit difficult for her to figure out how the fallacy related to the example advertisements on her own. Thankfully, the companion DVD showed students discussing the materials and made it a bit easier for her to understand.

I read through the Teacher's Edition and was a bit disappointed. The majority of the book is simply a copy of the student book with the answer sections completed. Since many of the questions posed in the materials are short answer ones where the student creates their own example of the fallacy, I really needed to learn the material myself so that I could check Addison's answers. The Teacher's Edition did contain tests (and answer keys) for each chapter, the six units, and a final exam. These prepared materials would be helpful for determining grades for this class.

Addison thinks The Art of Argument materials would make a great class for a co-op situation because the students could help each other analyze the arguments and identify the fallacies. The DVDs helped somewhat, but she does not feel like she can fully understand the materials by studying the book independently.

The student edition of The Art of Argument costs $21.95, the teacher's edition is $24.95, and the set of five DVDs is $54.95. A bundle of all three products is available for $88.95.

 If you'd like to hear what other members of the review crew thought about The Art of Argument materials, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received The Art of Argument student book, the teacher's manual, and a DVD as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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Monday, March 5, 2012

Goal Planning Monday -- March 5, 2012

Another Monday, another look at the goals I set for myself.

How I did on last week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, and bedtime. I had at least two really late nights last week, and I felt the effects of not getting everything done before bed and not getting enough sleep.

2. Catch up on my daily Bible reading. DONE!

3. Create a new habit. DONE! My keys can be found in their new assignment home in my purse about 90% of the time. I even took this goal a step further and have started putting my purse in the same spot most of the time.

4. Take pictures of every activity that I can think of for Lauren to do independently. I didn't start taking pictures, and in fact, I'm not sure I even want to do this anymore.

5. An improvement project yet to be determined. DONE! I used a Magic Eraser to clean the dirty wall in the dining room and to clean up all the junk that had collected on the baseboards in our master bathroom. I also moved a stack of toys from the hallway up to the attic. They had been sitting there for about a month.

This week's goals:
1. Counters, schoolwork, bedtime, and Bible reading. Sooner or later, these will all become habits, but I'm not there yet.

2. My desk. Eventually, I'd love for it to get to a point where it can join the kitchen counters as something that I'll get straightened up everyday.


3. Redo Brennan's school area. We started out the year with workboxes, but we aren't using them as they were intended. I think I want to move an extra small bookcase into this area.


4. Gather and send in the photo stuff so that I can use a groupon that will expire at the end of the month.

5. Post some of the pictures that I've been taking lately. I'm doing better at planning fun things and taking pictures; I just haven't been blogging. My goal is two non-review blog entries before next Monday.

If you'd like to join me setting a few goals this week, please feel free to link up at Mama Manuscripts weekly meme here.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: K5 Learning

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K5 Learning provides is a single online program that provides instruction and practice for four major subject areas -- reading, math, math facts, and spelling.

PhotobucketI found a lot that I liked about K5 Learning. My kids both started by using the assessment to place them at a correct level. From there, they moved through lessons that were appropriate to their skills. In addition, I could assign lessons that I thought they needed to be working on. I was impressed with the number of different topics that were covered in the reading section, especially in the lessons available for my fifth grader. He worked on fact vs opinion, and I also assigned lessons on context clues, making inferences, and finding the purpose of a selection. For math, I found every topic that I think I'd ever need. I particularly liked the way that I could choose lessons from a lower grade level if I needed to have him do extra practice or if I noticed some learning gaps that needed to be filled.

Unfortunately, my kids were not huge fans of this program. Brennan, especially, found it annoying because it was too talkative. The introductory information about the lesson often lasted so long that he lost focus and completely quit paying attention. He was also frustrated because wrong answers sometimes had a lengthy phrase that was repeated before he could try again. Even worse, in his mind, was that the right answers sometimes reread the answer he had just picked or gave an unnecessary explanation.

Once again I'm reminded that computerized learning doesn't often work well for Brennan. I was able to check the parent records to see when he had (and hadn't) done the assignments, but in the end, I spent a lot of my time reminding him to get on the computer and to do enough of the lesson for it to count as completed. I would rather have spent that time reading a book with him.

You can find out more information about what K5 Learning offers for your child on their website. A subscription costs $25 per month for the first child and $15 for additional children; they have discounted prices for a one-year subscription. Right now they also offer a 14 day free trial.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about K5 Learning, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received two trial subscriptions to K5 Learning as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Music Review and Giveaway: "Miami Vineyard Live"

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to review a worship album from Vineyard Music and really enjoyed it ("I Love Your Presence: Live from Phoenix"). Last week, I received another of their CD's, "Miami Vineyard Live."

Again, I think I've found a fun CD that's earn a spot in my van's Christian music rotation.

About Miami Vineyard LIVE (from the producer):
What happens when a group of 20+ musicians and 10+ songwriters steeped deep in their own musical traditions of Black Gospel, Latin, Caribbean, and Anglo come together to create a new tradition and sound? What happens when the fusion of Black, Anglo, Latino, Caribbean, and Cuban voices unite together to worship in one voice? Among the 2000 people that attend the Miami Vineyard Community Church, there are over a hundred singers, instrumentalists and songwriters that make up its eclectic worship ministry. For one night, these musicians joined together in worship and invited the church to document the sound that is uniquely MIAMI VINEYARD LIVE.

This distinctive bi-lingual liturgy is filled with many flavors, from Latino claves to gospel two-step to funk and soul to delay-laden rock guitars of modern worship, yet they all work together seamlessly to create a new sound and voice that is authentic and refreshing. From anthems of praise and proclamation to songs of intimacy and adoration, there is a common thread running deep throughout this recording and that is true worship of the Living God as an expression of His Kingdom breaking in on the streets and beaches of Miami, FL.

What we thought:
Honestly, I agreed to do this review even though I doubted that I would like it. I was really pleasantly surprised. The kids and I enjoyed listening to the CD multiple times. It was fun to hear a style of music that's completely different than what we normally hear. Surprisingly, we even enjoyed listening to the familiar songs that were done in a different style. I don't usually like when a favorite song sounds different than the one I first grew to love, but I didn't mind on this album. I didn't get my typical "but that's not the way it's supposed to be" reaction. Lauren and I were singing along with "Lord Reign In Me" or "How Great is Our God" just as we always would, perhaps with a bit more rhythm and feeling than usual. It didn't take long for us to join in with the new to us songs on the album. I particularly liked  "If You Say Go."

I definitely recommend that everyone experience this different flavor of worship and praise music. It's certainly been a fun week of commuting to various activities as my family sings along to lively versions of old favorites and learns new gospel harmonies.

More Information:
Miami Vineyard Live is available on iTunes for $9.99 or as a CD from Vineyard Music for $11.99. If you'd like to hear some of the songs and see the people that contributed to this worship project, watch their video here. You can also find more information about Vineyard music on their website or on their Facebook page.

Giveaway:
Vineyard Music has generously provided a second copy of this CD for me to give away to one of my readers. Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Review: Reading Eggs

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I remember looking at online computer games a few years ago and finding it difficult to find high-quality options for preschoolers and early elementary children. Now, there's so many good options that it's hard to choose between them.

Recently Lauren has been playing on Reading Eggs, a learn to read program for 3-7 year olds. It is now one of the reading programs that I recommend most to someone with a child that's ready to learn to read.

What I liked:
* Letters are introduced systematically so that the child forms easy words fairly soon in the program.
* The reading instruction is heavily phonics based, but they teach common sight words, too.
* There is a wide variety of reading skills taught in this program, not just simple phonics sounds and decoding. There are rhyming activities, activities to count how many sounds in a word, and more.


* The game controls are easy to use. I didn't notice much clicking and dragging, which was difficult for my children to get the hang of when they were new to computer games.
* As the child moves from lesson to lesson the activities stay the same. Lauren doesn't mind the repetition, and I like that she was focusing more on learning new letter sounds than figuring out what to do with different games.
* I was impressed with the way comprehension activities are build in right away. The other day, Lauren needed to read a simple sentence and then match it to the correct picture.


What Lauren liked:
* Colorful, fun graphics
* Entertaining games
* Short activities -- she's more willing to do 12 or more very short activities than 3 longer ones
* All of the screens loaded very quickly for her

When it comes to computerized learning programs there are a lot of things I look for. Unfortunately, no matter how great I think a program is, my opinion doesn't automatically mean that my children will share my enthusiasm. Reading Eggs is a rare jewel that pleases the educator in me and thrills the part of my student that just likes playing on the computer. Lauren loves Reading Eggs and asks to play often.

Reading Eggs costs $75 for a one-year-subscription, $49.95 for six months, or $9.95 per month that automatically renews. They offer sample lessons to try and a 14 day free trial subscription. They also have an option for students that already know how to read -- Reading Eggspress that is designed to help 7-13 year old develop better reading skills.

If you'd like to hear how much the other members of the review crew thought about using Reading Eggs with their children, please visit The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew blog here.

I received a trial subscription to Reading Eggs as a member of the 2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.

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