Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Classical Academic Press ~ Latin for Children Primer A {A Review}

classical academic press button

Classical Academic Press specializes in producing Latin and Logic curriculum that can be used to educate children using the classical model of education.  We recently received The Latin for Children Mastery Bundle Primer A {grades 3-6} from Classical Academic Press to review…thanks to being members of the TOS Homeschool Crew.

Our bundle included:

latin bundle Latin for Children {LFC} Primer A ~ a 230-page consumable workbook/textbook. 

 LFC Primer A Answer Key ~ contains answers for all of the worksheets in the Primer A textbook/workbook.

LFC Primer A Activity Book ~ This optional consumable workbook contains over 100 pages of puzzles and games that correspond with the chapters in LFC Primer A.

LFC Primer A DVD and Chant set ~ The 3 DVDs in this set have over 6 hours of “chapter-by-chapter” training by the author of the series, and video of students doing the chants.  The 2 chant CDs contain chants for all 240 vocabulary words taught in Primer A.

LFC A History Reader ~ This 56-page paperback reader contains “15 stories  about Greek and Roman history in Latin” that are geared towards the Primer A reading level.

Our Experience

My ds9 is really enjoying this Latin curriculum…yes, really!  He absolutely loves the catchy paradigm and vocabulary chants that are contained on both the DVDs and the CDs.  These chants get stuck in your head and I overhear him singing them during the day after his Latin lesson {and I catch myself singing them too :)}.  These catchy chants make Latin hard not to learn :)

I also like the fact that the textbook and workbook is contained in one resource…less stuff for me to find when it’s time to do the work :).

Since my son is on the low side of the recommended age group for this curriculum {he is 3rd grade, it’s recommended for 3rd grade and up}, we are working at a slower pace through the curriculum.  We have been spending about 2 weeks on each chapter, doing Latin about 2-3 days per week.

My Thoughts

If you are looking for a fun Latin curriculum to use with your kiddos I definitely recommend that you check out Latin for Children.  To be honest, my ds9 was not excited when he learned that I would be adding Latin to his homeschool day…but it has quickly become one of his favorite subjects!  And I believe that he would say that the chant CD is a must have :)

More Information

The Classical Academic website contains an extensive FAQ page on their website that will probably answer most any question you have about both teaching Latin and the Classical Academic resources.

You can also view sample chapters from most of the above resources on the Classical Academic Press website.


classical academic press products The Latin for Children Mastery Bundle can be purchased on the Classical Academic Press website for $99.95.  You can also purchase a smaller basic bundle for $76.95 or purchase any of the above items separately.

Classical Academic Press also sells other Latin curriculum, including Song School Latin for PreK to 2nd graders, and Latin Alive for 7th graders and up…in addition to other homeschool resources.

Classical Academic Press also provides free resources that complement many of their products.

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Click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Classical Academic Press.

I received the Latin for Children Primer A mastery bundle in order to provide my honest and unbiased opinion about our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #9

The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

We welcomed a new puppy into our home…and she has kept us pretty busy :)  We also resumed school {after a very relaxing spring break at home last week}…and I got a Kindle! 

In our homeschool this week…

We kept ourselves busy with writing, reading, math, spelling, history …:). Only 9 weeks left ‘til summer break!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

This week seemed full of things to do and people to see.  Sunday we picked up our new puppy from her foster home.  Monday we had small group at our home.  Tuesday and Friday ds9 had baseball practice.  Wednesday ds9 & dd7 went to art class and that evening we all went to Truth Squad.  Whew…I am so ready for the stay-at-home weekend that we have planned :)

My favorite thing this week was…

Getting to know our new little puppy…we named her Daisy.  And watching my kiddos get to know her too.  Ds9 and ds4 were very wary of welcoming a dog into our home at first, but they have both come around very quickly :)

What’s working/not working for us…

I think my new Kindle will definitely work for us.  I took it along to baseball practice on Friday evening and read from it to ds4 and dd7 while we waited in the van {it was way too cold to play outside while ds9 practiced :)}. 

The best part was that it was completely unplanned.  I took it along to play around with it and when I was finished I found a couple books that I had loaded into it that I have always wanted to read to them…so I did :). 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Where oh where is my Sonlight catalog?  I have been hearing about others receiving theirs…I guess it’s time to start stalking my mailbox :)

A photo to share…


At first, ds9 was not excited about adding a puppy to our family…as you can see, he has since changed his mind :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big IQ Kids ~ A Review

Big IQ Kids Big IQ Kids is an award-winning online educational program for kiddos from K-8th grade.  Big IQ Kids offers both free and premium {paid} programs in four different subjects: spelling, vocabulary, math, and U.S. States

According to the Big IQ Kids website: presents a unique learning method designed to help each child develop the skills needed to perform to his/her full potential. Our award winning programs are designed for students in grades K-8 and promote spelling efficiency, vocabulary building, math fact mastery and US geography knowledge via multimedia reinforcement and independent learning. We offer both FREE spelling, math, vocabulary, U.S. states and spelling game programs.


We received a free subscription to all four premium programs offered by Big IQ Kids for review purposes.

How It Works

As I mentioned previously, Big IQ Kids offers four separate premium {paid}programs: spelling, vocabulary, math, and U.S. States.  You have the option of of signing up for any combination of the four programs on the Big IQ Kids website.

When you register your kiddo on Big IQ Kids, you are asked to complete a member information section.  Here you provide information about your child’s age and grade level.  Big IQ Kids uses this information to determine which level of each program to use with your child; if you decide you don’t agree with the level assigned to your child it is very easy to adjust.

Each lesson takes between 5-15 minutes to complete and can be done independently by your K to 8th grade kiddos.  Each Big IQ Kids program has a “teacher” who gives audible instructions to your kiddo, including giving the spelling words and sentences for the spelling tests :). 

Your kiddo will earn a game point for each lesson that they complete {you can modify this if you would like}.  They can use their game tokens to play games on the Big IQ Kids game page…they can choose over 35 “strategy and educational games”. 

Big IQ Kids makes it very easy for you to modify the content of the math, vocabulary, and spelling lessons to fit what your kiddos are learning in your homeschool.  I was able to quickly and easily adjust the spelling words in my dd7’s spelling program so that they matched the words from her spelling curriculum.

Big IQ Kids keeps you informed by sending emails whenever your child shows mastery of a topic and is moved up to the  next level, or if they need extra help on a particular topic. 

It is also very easy to check your child’s progress in each of the programs.  There is a progress reports button on the bottom of each program intro page.  By clicking on this button you will be taken to a page where you can view information about the lessons your kiddo has completed in that particular program.

The intro page also contains a member information button that takes you to a page where you can adjust grade level settings for your kiddos and a modify lesson button that takes you to a page where you can customize what your kiddos are learning/practicing in their lessons.

You can read more about how Big IQ Kids works on this page.

I have been using Big IQ Kids as a fun “homework” assignment for my 9yo and 7yo after they complete their regular schoolwork.  Both of my school age kiddos {3rd grade & 1st grade} have been spending about 20 minutes per day on Big IQ Kids, after their schoolwork is completed.  They each complete about two to three Big IQ Kids program lessons in that time.

Our Assessment

Mom ~ My favorite feature of Big IQ Kids is the adaptability of the program.  With a couple clicks I am able to modify my kiddos’ Big IQ Kids lessons to match what they’re currently learning in our homeschool lessons.

Ds9 ~ “I think Big IQ Kids is fun.  My favorite programs to do are U.S. States and vocabulary.”

Dd7 ~ “Big IQ Kids is fun and I really like it.  I like the U.S. States program the best.”

More Information

Big IQ Kids provides six compelling reasons why is the “best e-learning site for kids” on this page

Big IQ Kids offers both free programs and premium programs {available with a paid subscription}.  You can purchase a premium subscription to any combination of programs {i.e. just spelling, or spelling and math, or all four}.

A premium subscription to all four programs is $19.99 per month or $99.99 per year.  Premium subscriptions to individual programs vary, you can see the prices here.

Read more about the difference between the free programs and premium programs here.

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Please click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates  are saying about their experiences with Big IQ Kids.

I received a free premium subscription from Big IQ Kids in order to provide an honest review of my experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #8

The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

We’ve had a couple of exciting weeks around here…dd6 is now 7 {she celebrated her birthday last week} and she lost her 7th tooth!  Not to be outdone, ds9 lost his 9th tooth…he can’t let his little sister get ahead in the missing tooth count :)

We’ve been enjoying spring break this week.  I had a long list of things to get done…and most of the things on my list have been crossed off, yay!

Oh, and we are preparing to add a new puppy to our household this weekend :).

In our homeschool this week…

We were on our spring break this week so we didn’t do any book work…ah, it was nice! 

Even though we were technically on a break, we did make time for a fun fieldtrip this week.  On Friday we checked out a new nature center in our area.  While we were there the kiddos {and some of their friends} got up close and personal with a tarantula, a hissing cockroach, a toad, some turtles, and a couple of snakes :)

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Wednesday was art class for the two older kiddos in the afternoon, and my book club in the evening. 

Friday we took a fieldtrip with some friends to a new nature center in our area. 

Today we have baseball practice and tomorrow we will be bringing our new puppy home :)

My favorite thing this week was…

Our visit to the nature center was definitely one of my favorite things this week.  We had gorgeous weather {sunny and 70 degrees}, the kiddos had a blast with their friends, and we got some fun learning done :). 

What’s working/not working for us…

Remember the shelves I mentioned a couple weeks ago?  Well, they are up!  {and they are working :)}.  They are definitely an improvement over what we used to have.  I’ve been organizing and reorganizing them during our break this week :).

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

Spring break has been so nice…can we make it through 10 more weeks of school ‘til the end of our school year?

A photo to share…

IMG_0987 Dd7 is wearing a “cockroach brooch”, and yes, it is a real, live cockroach {a hissing cockroach on display at the nature center we visited Friday}.  She started out very brave, but she quickly decided that she did not like having this big, ugly guy hanging on to her shirt :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who is God? {And Can I Really Know Him?} ~ A Review

Who is God And Can I Really Know Him? is the first book in Apologia’s Biblical Worldview Series {a total of four books are planned for this series}.



According to Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, worldview is defined as: the way someone thinks about the world.

There are many worldviews held in today’s society including secular humanism, socialism, Marxism, and postmodernism.  This unique resource, published by Apologia in partnership with Summit Ministries, focuses on the biblical Christian worldview. 

I found this wonderful quote in the introduction of Who Is God? that I think sums up what Apologia purposed for this book:

With the lessons contained in this, the first book of the What We Believe series, you will lay the essential foundational truths upon which the biblical Christian worldview is built: God is truth, and He reveals His truth to people…

In this 252-page hardbound book you will tackle questions like “Where am I building my life?” and “If God created the world, why isn’t it perfect?” {these are some titles of actual chapters in Who is God?}

Lesson components like vocabulary, scripture memorization, and notebooking suggestions help your kiddos understand and apply the information they are learning {through text, stories, and related articles} in Who is God? so that the learning becomes meaningful. 

Apologia also includes components in Who is God? that will help you {the parent/teacher} implement this resource easily.  Each chapter begins with The Big Idea which contains a brief overview of what you have learned so far, and a What You Will Do section that lets you know the learning objectives for the lesson.

There are also free notebooking printables that correspond with the lessons in Who is God? on the Apologia website.  You will be able to access these after you purchase the book.

This unique resource contains 10 chapters/lessons.  The authors provide a sample lesson schedule in the book’s introduction section {also titled “How to Use This Book”}.  This sample schedule has your kiddo working on each lesson three days per week for two weeks.  However, this is just a sample schedule.  They intentionally designed this resource to be adaptable, so that you can use it to meet your family’s individual needs.

Although I appreciated the recommendations that the authors provided for how to implement this book, I decided to use it as a read aloud with my kiddos {mainly ds9}.  This worked really well for us especially because of the conversational style of Who is God?

The variety of components/sections in each chapter also made it easy to find good stopping points during each of our reading sessions.  And the “think about it questions” and notebooking activity suggestions were great discussions starters for us after each read aloud session was finished.

My Thoughts

As Christians, my husband and I desire to teach our kiddos to have a Christian worldview.  Before encountering this book, my husband and I had been on the lookout for a resource that we could use with our kiddos that would help us teach them the Christian worldview. 

We were delighted when we received Who is God? as a review product.  This book looks as if it will do an excellent job in helping us equip our children with a solid foundation in our Christian faith and we think it will be an awesome resource to use during our family devotion time.

More Information

Who is God? is intended to be used with kiddos ages 6-14.  You can view a sample chapter of this book and the table of contents here

This resource can be purchased on Apologia’s website for $39.00.  Once you purchase the book you are also given access to free resources for this book, including notebooking pages that correspond with each chapter in the book.

Apologia {in partnership with Summit Ministries} has planned a total of four books for their Biblical Worldview Series.  You can read more about this series on this page

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Please click on the above banner to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about Who Is God And Can I Really Know Him?.

I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest and unbiased opinion of our experience with this product.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Reading Kingdom ~ A Review


Reading Kingdom is an online reading program designed to teach children ages 4 to 10 to read and write to a 3rd grade level.  I was given a free subscription to the Reading Kingdom so that I could review this product.

How It Works

The first thing your child does when they begin the Reading Kingdom program is take a skills assessment.  Their performance on this activity helps the Reading Kingdom place them in the appropriate level in the program.

Depending upon their performance on the skills assessment tool, your kiddo will be placed in one of the following Reading Kingdom levels:

  • Keyboard & Mouse Training {Pre-Reading}
  • Seeing Sequences {Pre-Reading}
  • Letter Land {Pre-reading}
  • Reading & Writing Level 1 through Level 5

Read here to learn more information about what skills are taught in each of the above levels.

Reading Kingdom is not a phonics-based program.  Instead Reading Kingdom, which was developed by literacy expert Dr. Marion Blank,  teaches six skills that kiddos need to achieve mastery in reading:  sequencing, motor skills, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension.  You can read more about their approach to teaching reading here.

reading kingdom chart

Our Experience

My dd6, a beginning reader, has been using the Reading Kingdom since the middle of January.  Reading Kingdom required her to complete a skills assessment at the beginning of our subscription so that she could be placed in the appropriate program. 

After a brief stint in keyboard and mouse training {I wanted to make sure she had what Reading Kingdom needed}, she began in Letter Land and Seeing Sequences. She tested out of these programs and into Reading and Writing Level 1 after using the Reading Kingdom 4 days/week for about 3 weeks.

Each of her daily lessons is quite short {it takes her about 15 minutes per day} and feedback is provided immediately.  The Reading Kingdom level 1activities in Level 1 {her current level} include recognizing, reading, and typing simple words like bird, kids, some and walk.  Once she has mastered a set of words, she gets to read a book {on-line} that contains these words {and other words that she has already learned in the program}.


She usually works on this program independently while I am working with one of my other kiddos.

I am using Reading Kingdom alongside another reading curriculum {which is phonics based}, and I have found it to be a fun complement to this program.   

My dd6 has enjoyed the activities on this online reading program and for the most part she is having a blast practicing her reading skills.  However, she does have moments of frustration when she is not able to find a particular letter on the keyboard right away.

Reading Kingdom makes it very simple for me to check dd6’s progress in the program.  From the main page of our account I simply click on dd6’s name and it takes me to a progress report page.  The progress report provides symbols that tell dd’s status in each section of the program.   A key is provided at the bottom of the progress report page so I know what each symbol means :)

Reader Report 

I think that the Reading Kingdom is definitely a fun addition to my dd6’s reading and spelling curriculum.  I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to try this product for free as a result of this review.   However, because I see this as a fun addition to our current phonics-based reading program {which I am very happy with}, I don’t believe that I would pay the $19.99/month or $199.99/year subscription fee for this online reading program. 

But I know that some of you may be looking for a reading program for your kiddos, one that is not solely based on phonics.  One that is innovative and fun; one that can be done almost independently and is reasonably priced.  If that is the case, I would definitely recommend that you consider the Reading Kingdom. 

More Information

For more information about the Reading Kingdom, be sure to check out the very extensive FAQ page on their website.

You can purchase monthly and yearly subscriptions for the Reading Kingdom from their website.  Monthly subscriptions are $19.99 and yearly subscriptions are $199.99.  Additional subscriptions {for families who want to use this program with multiple children} are only $9.99/month.  You may cancel your subscription at anytime.

You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial of the Reading Kingdom.

post banner Please click on the banner above to read what my fellow crewmates are saying about their experiences with the Reading Kingdom.

I received a free subscription to the Reading Kingdom in order to provide an honest and unbiased review of our experience with this program.  I did not receive any further compensation for my review.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal ~ Entry #7

The Homeschool Chick

In my life this week…

I was able to check a lot of things off my “list” this week: I mailed dd’s birthday invites, ds9 and I got haircuts, and we stayed on target with school plans for the week…yay!  I always feel better when things on my “to-do” list get done :)

In our homeschool this week…

This week we finished up a very gripping missionary read-aloud about Gladys Aylward.  Since we began using Sonlight two years ago we have read so many great books about missionaries.  Out of all of our read-alouds, it seems that the missionary biographies are my kiddos’ favorites :)

Ds9 finished up another reading book {Henry & Ribsy} and he also finished reading the February edition of his God’s World News magazine

The two older kiddos went to their second art class…and they came home once again with lots of exciting things to tell us about what they’re learning.  When I originally signed them up, I wasn’t sure how things would go…but I am very pleased so far :)

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Over the weekend we went to see our nephews perform in a very sweet musical at their church…ds4 was riveted {the rest of us enjoyed it too :)}.

On Wednesday afternoon the 9yo and the 6yo went to their art class; ds4 and I ran errands while they were there.  Then Wednesday evening I went to my book club, we’re reading John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life.

On Thursday afternoon we headed over to our local library.  I like to take the kiddos after lunch when it’s usually not very busy.  This time ds9 and dd6 used their own library cards to check their books and movies out :) 

My favorite thing this week was…

The return of the sun and the promise that spring is indeed coming soon.   The weather has been on the chilly side, but the kiddos have been able to get outside everyday to run some energy off…come on spring! 

What’s working/not working for us…

I love the All About Spelling program!  I have been using AAS Level 1 as my dd6’s main reading/spelling program this year and she has made amazing progress in this area.  So I was very excited when All About Learning released the first level in their All About Reading program this week.  My dd6 is past the skills taught in this level, but it looks like it will be a perfect match for my ds4.  I can’t wait to get my box of goodies from All About Reading next week!

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

My new bookshelves are scheduled to be delivered today!  I am not really looking forward to all the work that will be involved in moving everything out of the way so we can put the shelves up…but I am looking forward to the finished product.

A photo to share…

spring is coming I spotted some flowers blooming in the front flower bed this week :)

February Wrap-up

I’m doing the monthly wrap-up again…the weekly ones just seem to come due too quickly :)

In February…

ds9 {third grade}

valentine's luncheon 

  • crossed two more books off of his third grade reading list {African Adventures and A Llama in the Family}
  • began a new Latin curriculum {a review product} ~ he is really enjoying the cd that came along with this curriculum…it includes some very catchy chants :)
  • learned about  prepositions, the object of the preposition, and prepositional phrases in First Language Lessons 3
  • tracked the weather for the month of February on a weather chart…we had some crazy weather too :)
  • transitioned to a new handwriting program
  • spent a fun night at a local college basketball game
  • set up a sweet valentine’s luncheon for his younger siblings

 dd6 {first grade}

daddy daughter dance

  • put stickers on steps 19, 20 & 21 of her All About Spelling chart…only three more steps to go ‘til she is finished with Level 1!
  • has been practicing her reading skills by reading practically everything in sight ~ including signs, cereal boxes, book covers…which makes this mama’s heart so glad :)
  • recited four poems from her FLL1 book {“The Caterpillar”, “Work”, “The Days of the Week”, and “The Months”}
  • had a grand time with her daddy at the Daddy/Daughter dance
  • spent hours on the internet with her daddy looking at pictures of adoptable doggies 

ds4 {busy preschooler}

snow in february

  • blew a bunch of bubbles and chased them around the front yard
  • four days later made snowballs and a snow fort
  • asked his mama if he could play a computer game about 1001 times 

as a family

  • finished up a couple more read-alouds {Dr. Doolittle and The Apprentice}
  • learned about explorers, the Renaissance, and the Elizabethan time period in our history studies {does anyone else’s kiddos giggle uncontrollably when every time they hear the word “tudor” as in the Tudor monarchs, or does that just happen in my house? :)}
  • read two wonderful picture books in history including Michelangelo and Good Queen Bess, both by Diane Stanley
  • took the 9yo and the 6yo to their first art class


  • made it halfway through the Bible in 90 Days challenge!
  • rode my exercise bike 5 days/week for 30 minutes each day {6 miles/day}
  • hosted my first ever giveaway on this blog :)

Here’s what we’re looking forward to in March…

  • welcome spring {and spring weather!}
  • continue tracking weather
  • watch more Kinderbach online lessons {review to come in early April}
  • continue with art class
  • go on at least one fun field trip with friends
  • make plans for spring break
  • attend HSLDA symposium {covers early years and struggling learners…and Dianne Craft will be speaking :)}
  • celebrate dd6’s 7th birthday

This post is being linked to Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All About Reading Level Pre1 is Here

I already ordered mine :)  You can read more about the items in All About Reading Level Pre-1 on this page.  

They are running a special promotion through March 7 …customers who purchase either the Basic or Deluxe version of All About Reading Level Pre-1 through March 7th will receive $20 in free product!  Details about this special promotion are on the website :)

all about reading level pre1

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

All About Reading Level Pre1 Debuts Tomorrow!

I have raved before about how much I love All About Spelling…and I have been waiting {not so patiently} for the debut of the All About Reading program; I can’t wait to use this program with my ds4 :)

all about readingWell, the wait ends tomorrow!  Here is an excerpt from an email that I received from Marie at All About Spelling this afternoon:

We're going to be releasing the first level in our new All About Reading program tomorrow, Wednesday, March 2! Level Pre-1 teaches preschoolers and kindergarteners a very specific set of skills that we call the Big Five Skills. These five skills help young children understand the basics of language and how it works, preparing them to learn to read.

With All About Reading Level Pre-1, your child will play special games, enjoy little crafts, and engage in charming storytime activities--all the while absorbing these all-important Big Five Skills.

Inside this email I also received links to two free activity ebooks that can be used with preschool and kindergarten children…and I was told that I could share these links with you :)

zigzag zebra safari stories

If you are interested in viewing and/or downloading these free ebooks, click here.  This link should take you to a page where you can view your own copies of these sweet little ebooks :)

February 2011 in Pictures

This is the second installment of 2011 in pictures…I know I can’t post a picture everyday, but I think I can handle a couple of pictures each month :)


Dd6 had a lovely time at a friend’s tea party birthday party.


After the birthday party, dd6 and daddy headed to the Daddy/Daughter Dance…a full day of girly fun.


A Valentine’s Luncheon


Getting outside after a bunch of cold, dreary days.

IMG_0861 70 degrees in the middle of February?

IMG_0866 A reminder that spring is not here yet :)


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