Tuesday, August 30, 2016

HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company - WAY Comes Home Kit Review

We recently had the opportunity to review a new wellness curriculum especially designed for homeschoolers.  WAY Comes Home from HomeSchool Scholastics, an i4 Learning Company is a nationally recognized health program that was designed to help homeschool families to focus on health and wellness in their family as a whole.  It's not just for the kids, but also how the whole family can become healthier through exercise, eating habits and even communication skills.

The Wellness, Academics & You (WAY) Comes Home curriculum was designed with interactive lessons that are easily laid out for parents to teach.   Created for elementary ages students from K - 5th grades, all aspect of your child's health is addressed during the lessons.  Activities in physical activity and fitness, nutrition and healthful eating, health communications, emotional health, social skills, and critical thinking skills are all included.  

The WAY Comes Home Teachers Guide is well laid out.  It doesn't require you to read a large chapter book to get started.  It offers pointers on how best to use the material with your family.  There is even a suggested library book list to give parents a list for books that you can check out to open up their worlds more.

There are 3 different journal levels.  It is recommended that each student have a journal.  It is a way for them to keep their thoughts of what they are learning in.  You can purchase journals in levels K - 1, Grades 2- 3, and Grades 4 - 5.  But you can still work together in one group to make teaching multiple levels easier.

As you start your lessons, you encourage your students to use their journal.  This is a place they can record their thoughts and feelings.  They can use words or pictures, whatever they are able to.  There are vocabulary words for each lesson, which are covered in their journal, but also made into picture word sentences to help your student retain this information. Art and weekend family activities are also included, to make the learning not just for the kids but for the whole family.

A typical lesson can vary in length and you can make adjustments easily.  Included also in your kid is an activity/resource DVD.  On this DVD are video clips that go with certain lessons as you progress through the material.  You would have your student(s) watch the video clip prior to starting their lesson.  They are meant to motivate your student and help them to understand the material better.  Included also are exercise activities that can be done in your home with your children.  

It has been written to include multiple levels of learning by including extra activities for your older students.  This allows them to get more out of what they are learning and provide an extra challenge for them. 

If you purchase the WAY Comes Home kit, all your materials are included.  This large kit, which is only $39.95, includes supplies for hands-on projects, card stock printables of the vocabulary words and coloring pages, Student journals, the MyPyramid Poster and guide, Teachers Guide, and Activity DVD.  

There are 15 lessons.  We have been doing a lesson a week currently.  You can really move as fast as you would like through the material.  I was easily able to incorporate this material into our group activities.  On the other days, I would refer back to the weekly lesson throughout our everyday lives.  I have noticed that the kids tracking their physical activity closer.  There is still whining when it comes time to do our exercise, but the whine is minimal, and we switch around activities to keep them wanting to be more active.  Just them noticing their lack of physical activity is a huge hurdle.  

There are many funny jokes and poems throughout the lessons that help to reinforce the material.  The kids have enjoyed those.  I have enjoyed the lessons in thinking about where their food comes from and the health lessons were also able to be incorporated in our science anatomy lessons.  Which came in very handy with multi-level group lessons.  

The WAY Comes Home Kit has been a great addition to our classroom.  We have studied health before, but this has been a much for fun way to approach this subject.  It really does take school from just a kid thing to including the whole family in learning.

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the chance to review the WAY Comes Home Kit.  Take some time to see how they enjoyed it in their homes.  Visit the site below.

WAY Comes Home Kit Review
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Week 13....I have 2...Count them 2 in high school!! I am too young for that!!

So last year I did all these fun activities for our Not-Back-to-School first day of school.  The kids thought it was neat, but I found the treats and snacks all over the place for a few weeks.  Very annoying.  So I opted out of that this year.  Instead I let them start back on Tuesday instead of Monday...lol.  Then I bought them each a bag of their favorite candy to eat while we did Group table lessons.  They liked that just as much.

This "School year"  I have 2 ... yes 2 in high school.  Joey, due to his disabilities was advised to remain in school longer.  So he is working as a Freshman 2.  Brayden will most likely follow the same schedule, and he is listed as Freshman 1.  This is in my records.  Lydia is starting her 5th grade year and Caty is in 3rd grade this year.

This "Not-Back-to-School" year I am trying to do more group lessons.  I am spread so thin with 4 kids, it's getting rough.  Since the boys are at Caty's grade level in so many subjects, why not try to get them to work together.  We are trying this through September to see how it goes.  The older kids will be required to do more in certain subjects than Caty.

This year We are using:

History - All American History Volume 2
Science - Sassafras Anatomy and Botany
Math - Math Lessons for Living Education
Computer - Scratch / Python with DK workbooks (This is the link for one of them we will be using)
World Geography - Give Your Child the World 
Grammar - Parts of speech and literature
Zoo classes - Habitat studies

Art (Girls):
Blossoming Artists - Online class

Lots and lots of interest read books for the boys.  They have to pick out so many library books each week to read on different topics that interest them.  Big difference from last year.  I chose them last year.  Trying to get them to chose some for themselves, and know I may have to throw in some back up plans.

Lydia is working on Pet Shop Math and a how to draw comic books.  Plus she is using the 2nd level of the 4H Photography program and she started the 2nd level of the Veterinary Science program from 4H.

Joey is going to finish up his Careers curriculum.  I believe that when he finishes reading the book, then we will check out books on careers from each chapter he covered, so that he can read through them.  He will also finish the 2nd half of his high school level Life Skills course.

Caty is working on several different 4H projects.  She won't be judged on them all, but they are great for hands-on educational opportunities.  Right now she is working on the cookies project, Science fun with Physics experiment projects, and Let's Start Cooking. She's also going to study the history of food.  We are going to work on spelling also.

Brayden is going to go interest led approach.  I may have to push him in a direction every week, but hopefully this will take off after a while.  He will start the Careers textbook when Joey finishes it.

They all will have many 4H activity project books that they will be going through over the course of the next year.

This is the plan for group and individual weekly activities.  I keep track of plans in my Big Momma Homeschool Planner from Schoolhouse Magazine.  Then I put down their daily/weekly assignments in a spiral notebook.  I buy them a cute character or design style that matches their personality.  I was inspired by this article last year.  It worked out great, and we continue it this year.


Group This Week:


This week we started learning the reasons why the Civil War took place.  Of course the biggest issue was slavery.  So we also learned about the Underground Railroad.  If you remember, this past June we visited a stop on the Underground Railroad that is close to us.  That was a very neat experience, and we discussed that field trip again this week.  We watched a video on the Underground Railroad and also the 1987 version of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Language Arts
This week we worked on review of Common/Proper Nouns and Concrete/Abstract Nouns.


The girls continue learned about Matisse.  They are working on cut out pictures with their teacher.  I highly recommend using Blossoming Artists.  Great family!


Lydia caught on very quickly to using Scratch.  Joey not so much.  But she was very helpful in showing him how to work on his project.


This week we are reviewing the Respiratory system and started learning about the central nervous system and brain.  We had a group dissection of a sheep brain to go with our unit.

We also started a small unit study on trees.  This is a badge requirement for Lydia and a 4H project for Caty and Brayden.   This week we covered the commonly known parts of the tree and included other parts that are important.  They are also trying to grow cherry trees from seeds.  Lydia and Caty planted them this week.

World Geography

This week we are learning about the world as a whole.  We learned about some major cultural differences from around the world.  We discussed housing, food and customs.  We read several books mentioned in Give Your Child the World.

We also watched a video on Cultural Differences and had a big discussion about these men who were visiting the United State from Sudan.  We talked about how weird that would feel.

As a group we also read a book and discussed table manners.  Watch for a review on this great book we had a chance to read called:  If A Very Important Person Invited You to Lunch.

This week she learned about the history of cereal.  We watched the American Eats on Cereal and we read books about the history of Corn Flakes and how cereal is made.  She also made Lucky Charm cookies..  http://www.thereciperebel.com/white-chocolate-lucky-charms-cookies/

She also worked on her Science Fun with Physics Experiments.  This week we worked on gravity and also surface tension.  We did a couple fun experiments including seeing how many drop of water or milk fit on top of a penny and also built parachutes for an egg drop.

Lydia started learning American Sign Language this week.  She has been obsessed about this lately.  She is wanting to continue to learn Mandarin Chinese also.  I'm not sure how she is going to continue with learning two languages, but I'm not going to stop her.  She continued with her Pet Shop Math.  This is such a fun program for her.

This week Joey chose to read book about the events surrounding and what happened on September 11, 2001.  He checked out a couple books from the library and also read the I Survived book on this event.

Brayden chose to be a challenge yet again.  I am working on how to tackle the challenges he presents each day when it comes to school work, or any work for that matter.  This week he read a book on how computers work.


On Monday we went to an Adventure Camp through the girls scout troop.  We went canoeing, a short nature walk, and the girls learned about putting up a tent and also how to make wood shavings to start a fire.

Tuesday through Friday we started back working on the book work that I talked about above.  The girls also had their art class online.  We did our group work and independent work.  I tried not to have any outside activities planned so that we could concentrate on our work.  I am going to try hard to keep a 4 day at home and 1 day out schedule.  It won't be perfect, but I'm going to try my best.

We had a pretty smooth week.  Praying that it keeps up for next week.  Hope everyone's "Not Back to School" is going GREAT!!

Linking up with other homeschool moms at:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, August 25, 2016

jollyliteracy.com - Can Do Cubes Review

Earlier in the week, we posted a review for the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar programs from Jollyliteracy.com.  We also had the opportunity to use the Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com and  just2ducks LLC.

Can Do Cubes for Synthetic Phonics is a set of wooden phonics blocks that can be used alongside the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar programs or any other phonics program that you may be using.  They are specifically packaged for you to use alongside a synthetic phonics program.  Synthetic phonics is when your teach a small groups of sounds in specific orders.  Each set builds upon itself allowing children to create words.

The Can Do Cubes Complete set contains everything you need to teach Synthetic Phonics to your student:

  • Stage One and Stage Two books on how to create the spelling variations of over 200+ sounds that make up the English language.
  • Student tray containing Stage One, laser-engraved cubes (27 cubes)
  • Student tray containing Stage Two, laser-engraved cubes (30 cubes)
  • Instruction/activity book for Stage One
  • Instruction/activity book for Stage Two
  • DVD With Interactive Demonstration of Sounding Out of Letter/Sounds Presented by Debbie Hepplewhite, who is a synthetic phonics consultant
  • At-a-Glance word chart
  • Synthetic Phonics Overview Chart
  • CD with Laurie Fyke's Teacher's Guide and Template Book for Stage One

The Can Do Cubes can be used for very young students through elementary age.  They are durable and the laser-engraving which means that the lettering will not wear off when used with one student.  They can be used by several children.

The special packaging put the cubes in stage order as you teach sounds to your children.

We printed the Can Do Cubes workbook to practice our phonics sounds.  Caty really enjoyed matching up the sounds with her pages.  The pages were well laid out and allowed us to review all the sounds in stages.

This was a great spelling review.  The cube worksheets allowed her to visually see the separate sounds that make up the words.

I really like that blends shared a single block.  It again helped her to see that the letters worked together to make the sound.

The Can Do Cubes are a great visual addition to your phonics program, whether you are using Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar or your choice of programs.  They provide a multi-sensory approach to both your phonics and spelling curriculum.

The instruction booklets included in the complete package are a great help to furthering your student's progress.   Broken into two stages, they suggest extra ideas to make an early impact on your child's reading progress from an early age.  It explains how to teach synthetic phonics and spelling.  Stage Two booklet continues with more advanced blend sounds.

There is a disk included that gives you three PDF booklets that you can easily print off from the first introduction of sounds through the spelling of words.  It also includes teacher instructions to help you out as you are teaching the lessons.

The wall chart is helpful if you have room to hang it up.  It's mainly for you as the parent though to plan out as you are teaching the sounds.  It is a great quick reference to see where you are at in the program.

Caty has enjoyed using the Can Do Cube during her lessons.  They have been a great visual addition to her learning.  Of course it helps that when we are done she can build a tower.

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out Can Do Cubes.  Take some time for visit their blogs and see how they used them in their homes and how they worked for them.

Can Do Cubes

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

jollyliteracy.com - Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

Phonics Curriculums can be a hard program to make a decision about.  We recently had the opportunity to review the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar program from jollyliteracy.com.

The Jolly Phonics program was written for children in early pre-k levels though 1st grade.  You could even use it with children who are struggling in upper grades.

Jolly Phonics uses a systematic phonics approach to help your student.  This multi-sensory approach helps students by giving them an action with each letter sound they are learning.  Sounds are taught in a specific order, not alphabetically.  This allows children to begin forming words early in the program.  They can feel as if they are accomplishing reading much quicker, which allows them to build extra confidence.

Jolly Phonics uses a 5 step approach that works along with the Jolly Readers and Jolly Grammar program also offered by just2ducks LLC.

Jolly Phonics teaches these 5 skills:
1.  Learning letter sounds
2.  Learning letter formation
3.  Blending - Mixing sounds together
4. Identifying the sounds in words
5.  Tricky words.

These 5 steps build upon each other to help your student become a successful reader.  The Jolly Phonics program contains several components that are designed to be used over a 3 year period with your student.  The program includes:

  • Jolly Phonics Teacher's Guide
  • Jolly Phonics Student Book 1, 2, and 3
  • Jolly Grammar I Teacher's Guide
  • Jolly Grammar I Student Book
  • Jolly Songs in print letters

How did we enjoy the Jolly Phonics program?

Well Caty struggles a bit with remembering letter formation and sounds.  Here is the kicker...she can read, but when it comes to writing the words for spelling or creating sentences, she cannot do it.

The workbooks are full color and even though they are made for younger students, are not cartoony.  They contain letter writing practice to work on the letter formation that you are working on.  There is a picture that they could color if they would like.  There is also a picture of the action for that letter sound.  Also included on the page is word practice for that letter sound and pictures questions to allow the student to Hear that sound in words.

Jolly Phonics recommends that you introduce a new letter sound each day, but you know what your student can handle each day.  Caty started at the end of Book 1, where letter combinations are introduced.  She quickly has moved into book 2.  We do follow the rule to do 1 combination a day.  So far that has kept Caty from feeling overwhelmed.

Each lesson is only a page long in the Jolly Phonics book, so it's perfect for Caty's short attention span.  The Teacher's Guide lays it right out for parents and makes it very easy for them, even if they have never had the opportunity to teach phonics before.

The Jolly Songs in Print Letters is a great addition as you are learning the letter sounds.  Not only do you have the actions that students can do when working on the sounds, but they also have a song to go with many of the letter sounds also.

When your student has completed the Jolly Phonics program, you start up with Jolly Grammar.  This program not only works on grammatical skills such as nouns, verbs, etc.  But it also works on spelling also.  All combined into one neat program.

The Jolly Grammar workbook is set up very similar to the Jolly Phonics workbook set up.  The difference being the spelling.  I really do like the layout of this spelling book.  It gives students a visual list and mixes in the parts of speech work as you go.  No separate program you need to worry about.  All the practice is in one place.  The pages also seem to be written for short attention spans like Caty.  She is able to finish her work in an acceptable amount of time to her.   That is a big deal for her.

We have been using this program 4 days a week now and with some review, Caty is remembering a few more of her letter combination sounds.  So I have been impressed.

Here is a short video about this program:

The Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar have become a great supplement to our homeschool day.  Caty has been showing more confidence in her reading abilities.  This has been wonderful for her.

Check back tomorrow and see how we have been using another just2ducks LLC product, Can do Cubes.  

Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew were given the opportunity to try out the Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar programs from jollyliteracy.com.  Take some time to see how they enjoyed these products by visiting the site link below.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar Review

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