Jun 182015
 

Tapestry of Grace vs Sonlight Curriculum Comparison

Are you trying to decide between Tapestry of Grace and Sonlight? Here is a Tapestry of Grace vs Sonlight Curriculum Comparison.

Both programs provide tremendous exposure to literature. In addition, they both integrate history, geography, and Bible and each is written from a Christian perspective. Here are some major items to consider in comparing Sonlight to Tapestry of Grace.


Similarities

Both Tapestry of Grace and Sonlight

  • Present history in the context of a Christian worldview
  • Use Living books. What is a Living book?
  • Include some books that are not Christian
  • Combine history, geography, Bible, and literature studies
  • Have helpful and friendly user forums and excellent customer support
  • Provide curriculum for all ages

Some of the differences between Tapestry of Grace and Sonlight are shown below:

Tapestry of Grace Sonlight
Weekly reading assignments Daily reading assignments
Requires more teacher planning Requires minimal teacher planning
Lampstand Press sells only the TOG year plans. (They don’t sell any books or any materials from other curricular areas such as math, science or grammar). Sonlight is a Complete curriculum provider and sells packages that include the literature books as well as other materials.
Classical curriculum using 4 year chronological history cycle Not classical, can be adapted for chronological history
Strong emphasis on God’s providence through history Great emphasis on missions
Includes extensive ideas for hands-on activities Doesn’t provide specific ideas for hands-on activities
Each year plan can be used for each child up to three times (between 1st grade and 12th grade), but additional books are needed for each level. Each core (year) curriculum package can be used only once per child, but can be reused with younger children
The entire program consists off 4 year-plans covering all of world history 13 different core packages (excluding 2 additional preschool cores) are available.
Entire family can use the same year plan Students close in age can be combined in one core

If you are seeking a history curriculum that integrates other subjects as both Tapestry of Grace and Sonlight do, the choice between these programs is a matter of personal preference. I have specifically NOT provided a list of pros and cons concerning these curricula, because the things that I deem to be positives, might be considered negatives by someone else. I hope this comparison aids you in your decision. Be sure to visit the above links to learn more about these curricula.

Jul 032014
 

It’s summer. We don’t have to do school, right?

Maybe not officially, but I like to make sure we’re still learning. Recently, I’ve had a great opportunity to sneak a little history into my family’s day.

Experience History Through Music

Experience History Through Music

I don’t know if your kids are like mine, but I cannot watch a video or play any song on my computer without everybody running to see what I’m watching or listening to. It can be annoying, but it does have its uses – like if you want them to watch or listen to something. It’s the perfect way to introduce the music portion of Experience History Through Music to unsuspecting children.

Another sneaky thing I like to do is leave interesting books lying around. Especially if they have an interesting cover and photographs on the inside. The saying about not judging a book by its cover is good advice, but a good cover is definitely a plus. That’s how I got my 14 year old daughter to read Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder from cover to cover without even asking her to. It’s also why I’ve seen my 12 year old son flipping through the books and reading sections from time to time. That works until they disappear into my daughter’s room so she can try out some of the songs on her violin.

 

There are three books in the Experience History Through Music Series:

America – Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho! – Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Books

I love the format of these books. Each contain a 1-2 page illustrated spread that tells the story behind a song. These stories typically give both specifics about the history of the song, and a more general description of the events in history that the song pertains to. The short length of each segment makes it easy to either very quickly read a small portion, or as time allows, to continue reading multiple sections.

Sheet Music

I also love that the books include simple sheet music for the songs. In our home, my older daughter plays the violin, and my middle son plays the piano. Both are able to (fairly) easily play the music in these books.

CD’s

The accompanying music cd’s are professional, high quality recordings. They are a vitally important part of this study. It seems pointless to study about a song without listening to it! We honestly don’t listen to a lot of music in the house, but these are going to have a rotation in the car once we start back to school with all the short trips we make to classes, lessons, etc.

Content

America – Heart of a New Nation includes many familiar songs like Yankee Doodle, the Star Spangled Banner, and Oh! Susanna. It focuses on the time period beginning at the American Revolution through the Civil War. Westward Ho! has some overlap in time period with America – Heart of a New Nation, but its focus is on songs related to westward expansion like the Oregon Trail, cattle drives, and even sailing songs (Before the railroad, many goods were transported west by sailing around South America). I wasn’t familiar with any of the songs in this volume except for Home on the Range.  Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder also overlaps the Westward Ho! time period, but it details specific songs and facts related to the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I enjoyed reading all these books, but especially Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have loved everything Little House on the Prairie since childhood and have a collection of various books and videos about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have also visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri and hope to visit some of the other home sites and museums in the future.

These books would make a fantastic addition to any homeschooler’s library. They could be used to supplement any American History curriculum, as stand-alone unit study spines, or as inviting coffee table books.

The books are $18.99 each and are available at from DianaWaring.com. For the month of July, you can purchase all 3 books for $50.

Don’t miss this fantastic giveaway to celebrate the release of Experience History Through Music. It ends tomorrow!

 

Diana WaringAuthor of Beyond SurvivalReaping the Harvest and Diana Waring’s History Revealed world history curriculum, Diana discovered years ago that “the key to education is relationship.” Beginning in the early ’80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high-school—the real life opportunities to learn how kids learn.  Mentored by educators whose focus was honoring Him who created all learners, and with an international background (born in Germany, university degree in French, lifelong student of world history), Diana cares about how people learn as well as what they learn.  Audiences on four continents have enthusiastically received her energetic speaking style.

 

Disclaimer: I received the complete set of Experience History Through Music in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

 

Jun 192014
 

Third Grade Curriculum

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

It is hard for me to believe that my baby girl will be in the 3rd grade this fall! Lizzie is, for the most part, a cooperative student. She grasps new concepts quickly, and she doesn’t mind writing things down. She liked having her own school desk in the living room this year and did well with most of the curriculum, so we’ll be continuing on with much of the same for her third grade curriculum.

Third Grade Curriculum MathMath

She is a natural at math and enjoys it. Singapore and Miquon have been a great fit for her. She’ll be working in Singpore 3A and 3B as well as the final two Miquon books: Yellow and Purple.

Third Grade Curriculum Language Arts

Language Arts

I love All About Spelling. It’s super easy to use and works well for both the natural speller and the struggling speller. Lizzie will be using Level 3 this fall.

I have fallen in love with Memoria Press Literature guides. She worked through most of the 2nd grade ones this year and will be starting with Mr. Popper’s Penguins in the fall. Then we’ll be using Farmer Boy, The Moffat’s and Charlotte’s Web. All great books!

For handwriting, she’ll be using New American Cursive 3 also from Memoria Press. She has done amazingly well. This is the first time I’ve strayed from Handwriting without Tears. I like the appearance of New American Cursive so much better!

Rod & Staff English is a favorite in our house. With her literature lessons and Latin studies, she really doesn’t need the complete course. I’ll be using it as a supplement though.

Third Grade Curriculum Latin and BibleLatin

I have become a fan of Memoria Press Latin series after initially rejecting it for my oldest son. (I’m still not sure that was a bad decision. Different children learn best with different approaches.) I like the no-nonsense approach of Memoria Press. Lizzie finished Prima Latina this year and will be moving on to Latina Christiana I.

Bible

I’m trying something new this year. We’re starting Classical Academic Press’s Bible curriculum called God’s Great Covenant – Old Testament 1. We haven’t started of course, but I think Lizzie and William are going to like it.  I’ll give a more thorough opinion after use.

Now this leaves the things that I have really struggled with getting done. History and science require more time and effort from me. I really like the resources that I own and I want to give myself another chance to make it work. I am planning on making these as low key as possible, but I don’t feel like I can continue to ignore these subjects with my younger students. I hope to keep these as simple as possible.

Third Grade Curriculum History and ScienceHistory

We will be reading The Story of the World Volume 1. I own the audio version as well, so I may not actually be doing the reading. Along with that we’ll be using the activity guide for note booking exercises and I am hoping to implement a “book basket” with related resources for independent reading time.

Science

I’m sticking with my old favorite Apologia Elementary here too. We’ll be working through 1 or more of the zoology books next year. I will have a book basket with more titles there as well.

 

Jun 062014
 

Homeschool Kindergarten Curriculum

I had the opportunity to talk with a friend at church who will be beginning to homeschool her oldest son for kindergarten this fall.  She was interested in hearing my recommendations for homeschool kindergarten curriculum. In my opinion, kindergarten should be kept simple. For formal school I recommend phonics, handwriting, and math. This conversation occurred several years ago, but I revisited this post and found my recommendations are still the same.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Phonics:

So far I’ve taught 4 kids to read and I’ve used 3 different phonics programs, plus some on-line resources.

Alpha Phonics – This spiral bound book is a simple, no-frills phonics program. The pages are white with handwritten style lettering. The text uses word families to teach reading. For example, the student would learn -at, then add letters to the beginning of -at to make cat, hat, fat, mat, and bat.  In addition to word lists, there are pages with sentences throughout the book. (Read my complete review.)

Phonics Pathways – This is also a simple phonics program.  There are cartoon drawings on many of the pages. This book teaches reading using syllables and spelling patterns. Instead of learning -at with an m in front is mat,  Phonics Pathways begins with teaching the syllable ma- then adding a -t to the end.

Happy Phonics – For William I had to think differently, because he is so different from my older children. First, he wasn’t really overly interested in learning to read. Second, he doesn’t sit still very well. When I tried the first 2 books with him, I couldn’t even get him to focus on the page. After doing a little research, I discovered Happy Phonics. Happy Phonics consists of lots and lots of colorful games, cards, and small booklets to learn phonics. For the first time, I was able to get my son to look at the letters. It definitely requires more teacher prep than the other programs -the program comes printed on cardstock, with all the cutting to be done by the teacher – but it was a worthwhile investment for us. This program uses mainly the word family approach to reading.

Explode the Code – I used this fun workbook program with William in addition to Happy Phonics. I also used Explode the Code with Anna as a supplement to Phonics Pathways and with Lizzie as a supplement to on-line programs. These workbooks provide excellent reinforcement to the phonics concepts being taught in most phonics programs. They have funny line drawings and silly sentences. These books require the student to write. There is also on on-line version available.

Ideally, I would have used either Phonics Pathways or AlphaPhonics with Lizzie. But I never got a chance because she already knew how to read! She did use 2 different on-line programs. I think that she learned to read with those along with her natural readiness to learn. I’ve heard of children teaching themselves to read. I would not go so far as to claim that, but she’s definitely come the closest. She used both Reading Eggs and Reading Kingdom. Links are to my reviews of those programs.

 

Handwriting:

Handwriting without Tears – This is the only handwriting program I’ve ever used for kindergarten. Designed by an occupational therapist, the approach to writing is very logical and sequential. Each letter is broken down into its component parts, and similar letters are learned together. All the capital letters can be written using long lines, short lines, small curves, and large curves. The basic program consists of a workbook and a slate. There are many additional accessories that are available and I’ve added to our collection over the years. I especially liked the wooden letter pieces for William. He used the letter pieces and the letter cards and learned all his letters in about a month.

Math:

Earlybird Kindergarten – I used this math program with William. (Not exactly this version, this is the new U.S. Standards version.) The text contains colorful pictures and is a fun introduction to numbers, counting, shapes, addition, and subtraction. I used the textbooks alone without the teacher’s guide.

Miquon Math – For David, Anna, and Lizzie, I used Miquon Orange for their math curriculum in kindergarten. This is a unique program, that is discovery based. It makes extensive use of Cuisenaire Rods. They all both loved this program. William really loves using the rods, but there are some portions of Miquon that I have found to be too abstract for him.

Miquon Orange is technically a first grade program, but I used it is conjunction with Singapore 1A to ensure that we thoroughly covered beginning concepts before encountering too advanced problems. Using both programs allowed for variety at a slower pace.


Singapore 1A
– Singapore Math is a math program that stresses understanding of mathematical concepts from the beginning. Story problems are introduced early and are very thoroughly taught. I use both the textbook and workbook, but have not invested in the teacher’s guides.

Reading:

Add in a library card and a variety of books, and you have everything you need for kindergarten. Here’s a list of great picture books from the 1000 Good Books list.

But, if I were starting again with my oldest child in kindergarten, I would probably also add Five in a Row. I didn’t use it when we were starting out, but had an opportunity to review it with my younger son this past year. It is a unit study curriculum revolving around terrific picture books for younger children. You can read my complete review here.

May 052014
 

Have you ever wondered if Australia would fit inside the state of Texas? (It doesn’t)

What about Brazil? I’ve always thought it was smaller than the continental US. It turns out it’s very similar in size.

I have just been introduced to a fun geography website: OverlapMaps.com.

OverlapMaps is a very simple, entertaining, and educational website. You select a country, state, river or lake, and then select another geographical area to compare. With a click of the green arrow, a comparison map is generated.

OverlapMaps

Pretty neat, isn’t it?

The use of OverlapMaps is free so go and try it out. I’ll wait.

Fun isn’t it?

The website is free, but if you want to give your students a little direction, I recommend the OverlapMaps.com Activity Sheets. Right now, Educents has a special deal on the sheets. The e-book contains instructions for using OverlapMaps, plus 10 lessons that use OverlapMaps to learn about continents, oceans, countries, and states. It’s a good value at only $4.99. That’s 60% off the regular price!

*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase the e-book, I’ll receive a small commission from Educents. 

So what did you find out?

Will Germany fit in the state of Texas?

What’s the largest country that will fit in Alaska?

 

 

Apr 142014
 

As I look back over David’s homeschool career, history has often been a struggle. We started off well, with lots of hands-on projects and notebook pages. He began to use the computer for making notebook pages at a young age (about 2nd grade). We had one year in a co-op for Tapestry of Grace and in hindsight that was a good year. At the time I was often frustrated with the group setting.

Starting in David’s 6th grade year things really started to go downhill in the history department. We focused on reading real books, but we often rushed. I tried to keep all the children together in their history assignments. I was frazzled. Most of the hands-on projects disappeared from our home. Basically the only thing that we managed to slog through was the reading.

With high school coming, I knew that something had to change, so I went in a completely new direction for David. I went with the Textbook – Get It Done Approach for World History. And honestly, there were some things that worked really well with it. The program we used was broken down into daily readings so it was very simple to use. It included comprehension questions, quizzes, and tests. And we made it through.  It did nothing to ignite a love of history though.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received a free download of Part 1 in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Next year is American History. I was going to have David use the Textbook – Get It Done Approach again. That is  until I had an opportunity to review Dave Raymond’s American History Curriculum from Compass Classroom.

American History>I am excited to give this curriculum a try. It has some of the features that have worked well for David.

  • Well structured and divided into daily lessons
  • Includes quizzes and tests

But there are some major differences that I am excited about.

Video format

The daily lessons include a relatively short video (about 10 minutes) with Dave Raymond teaching. I think this format will work well for David. He tends to lose focus with lots of reading. I like that Dave Raymond stresses taking notes. That is a skill that David needs to develop before going to college and this will be good practice.

Accompanying readings

The readings are mostly primary source documents that go along with the lecture. They are typically not lengthy. One thing I love about both the student and teacher guide is that the download includes  a pdf version, a Kindle version, and an epub version! So David can read from the Kindle, but I can print things as necessary from the pdf version on my computer. Super idea!

Portfolio and other projects –

This is what I find the most exciting about this curriculum. I feel like we’re coming full circle back to our early days of studying history. (Ones that David actually enjoyed!) Along with the lectures and the reading, the student completes a portfolio of their work. (Similar to the notebook pages we used to do.)It’s described as a scrapbook type of book, but I think we will likely modify it for David and have him create his in electronic form. There are also several other assignments – some of which include a research paper, delivering an historical speech, and the final project called the Hour Project. The options on the Hour Project are limitless, but knowing my son, the project will likely culminate with a video production.

Updated: The curriculum is now available as a whole with 26 lessons. It’s available as a download (regular price $120) or on DVD (current price $120/set). You can also view samples on the Compass Classroom website. To make this a full high school credit, it is necessary to complete the extra projects, however, the curriculum is suitable for upper middle school as well.

 

Feb 202014
 

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of memorizing large passages of scripture.

But I’ve never been able to do it.

Honestly, I haven’t tried very hard. We have memorized a few chapters of the Bible as a family – Isaiah 53, Luke 2, Psalms 1 and 23 for example, but I haven’t been consistent in personally memorizing.

This year I had made it one of my goals to memorize scripture, so when I was offered a chance to review one of the Bible Memorization Made Easy e-books from Brookdale House, it seemed almost providential.

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of Memorize Galatians in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Memorize GalatiansI selected the Memorize Galatians book with the initial plan of memorizing along with my family. After I received the e-book, I realized that the format wasn’t going to work for the whole family because it would be too much writing for my younger children. In the end, my almost 14 year old daughter Anna and I are the ones trying out this method. (For now anyway.)

The plan is very straightforward. There are 34 weekly lessons divided into 5 daily lessons per week. Each week covers a manageable portion of Galatians, about 5 verses  depending on the length of the verse. The plan is multi-sensory and has the student read the passage aloud. There is daily copy work of the passage and most days there is a fill in the blank version of the passage. Each day there are different and more words left out. Each week there is a reminder to review the previous weeks’ passages.

OK, confession time. I have started this study, but I have not made it very far into it. I have to say that so far it is easy. It doesn’t take long at all, I just need to be uninterrupted. That unfortunately doesn’t happen very often. Anna is farther along than I am and is enjoying the program. She has mentioned that it seems like almost too much on the weekly passage and that she could memorize it faster. But I think that working on the passage longer will aid in long-term retention. I should mention that she is a very good memorizer. (Much better than I am.) I haven’t found that it is too much on the single passage at all. I think it is about right. Memorize GalatiansAnna also thought there should be a bit more review of past passages than is included. That is easy enough to add though.

Some things to note –

This program utilizes the King James Version of the Bible. Personally, we chose to do all our memory work from KJV anyway because it made sense to us to memorize in a single version and KJV is the “classic” version. It has definitely stood the test of time.

This product is available either in print or e-book. The print costs a bit more, but this is an e-book that MUST be printed, so you should factor that in to your cost. And speaking of printing, you need to print out multiple weeks at a time. Don’t print a single day at a time or you’ll end up ready to work on it and then realize that you need to print and then by the time you print it, that quiet time to work on it has vanished. Ask me how I know this!

I definitely recommend the Bible Memorization Made Easy series. It’s a great way both to study the Bible and to add copy work, memory work, and recitation into your school day.

 

Aug 092013
 

Eleven years ago I attended my very first homeschool book fair. We had a just turned 4 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and a 2 month old baby. Like many new homeschoolers, I was very enthusiastic about starting homeschooling, and I wanted to go ahead and have a “test” year to make sure that I could actually do it.

Looking back, I see why so many people have the idea or making preschool a test year, but  determining if you’re going to be able to homeschool using a 4 year old as a test subject is not particularly helpful. A lot of growth occurs between 4 and 5. And those younger kids that you’re worrying about keeping entertained  grow a lot in a year too.

Thankfully, we were cheap, poor, frugal so that took a lot of bright, shiny preschool programs out of consideration. That helped me by necessity to keep things simple.

After doing my research, a lot using the CBD Homeschool Catalog, I had determined there was 1 item I was definitely going to buy at the book fair. (Assuming I could find it. Boy did I have no idea what a crazy, big place I was heading into! )

That one thing was Alpha-Phonics.

Alpha-PhonicsAlpha-Phonics is a phonics-based  reading program that has short lessons. It’s a very gentle approach to learning to read using time-proven methods of reading instruction. You teach the sounds the letters make, and you put them together to sound out words. There is repetition, but not long lists of rules to memorize. It doesn’t require writing, which is great for young learners since fine motor skills for writing often lag behind reading readiness. And it is very affordable.

Eleven years ago, we taught David to read using Alpha-Phonics. He was only 4, but he was ready to learn. Anna was not ready to learn to read at 4, or at 5. She was almost 6 before she grasped the concept of blending sounds together to make words. And William was even older. Lizzie however, was another young reader. I didn’t even teach her to read. She learned from several different computer games and her older brother and sister. As a result, she is a little weak on sounding out words. So I’m going to be going through Alpha-Phonics with her to fill in the gaps.

When Alpha-Phonics contacted me to see if I wanted to review their updated program, I couldn’t refuse. The main  Alpha-Phonics text is unchanged from the version I purchased 11 years ago. But they’ve added some extras. In addition to the book, there is now a CD-ROM of the entire text included at the same low price. I’ve tried out the CD, and I liked listening to the author, Samuel L. Blumenfeld, discuss the development of the alphabet and phonics instruction. I think the CD has more value to someone who is using Alpha-Phonics in a classroom setting, but it might prove useful to be able to have the student read from the computer instead of the book just for the sake of variety. It’s not a computer game, it’s full screen images of every lesson in Alpha-Phonics, with teacher instructions, both written and recorded.

I also received the Companion Workbook and the Little Companion Readers.The Companion Workbook has simple exercises to reinforce the concepts learned in the Alpha-Phonics book. The exercises require very little writing so they would be useful for a younger learner. There is a guide that correlates the lessons in the book with the workbook.

The Little Companion Readers are also correlated with the Alpha-Phonics lessons. I have always found phonics readers helpful in those early stages of learning to read. Reading sentences helps with reading comprehension skills and proper voice inflection. It’s nice to have readers specifically linked to your phonics program so you know there are no surprises with letter sounds that haven’t yet been introduced.

I highly recommend Alpha-Phonics for beginning or remedial phonics instruction.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Alpha-Phonics, the Companion Workbook and Little Companion Readers in order to write this review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

Jul 102013
 

A month ago I shared my evaluation of 1st grade with Lizzie.

Today I’m moving on to the next oldest student, William.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Fifth Grade CurriculumWilliam is 11 years old. He is finishing what I am calling the 4th grade, though technically, according to his age, he should be finishing 5th grade. And according to his achievement tests, he should be somewhere below the 4th grade. But one of the benefits of homeschooling is that I can tailor his subjects, to meet his particular learning challenges.

This year the focus was on math. All the previous years, the focus had been reading. Not that we hadn’t done any math, but what we had done, really hadn’t stuck. So this year I went a new direction in math. I am a fan of conceptual, mastery based math programs. But with William, that just does not work. He would “learn” borrowing, but then the next day it would be brand new. Finally it would seem like he got it, but then when we’d revisit the topic in a couple of weeks, it would be completely forgotten. So that’s why I tried a spiral program this year. I choose Christian Light because of the workbook format and uncluttered pages.

I told about it in The post where I admit I was wrong.

The results were even better than I expected. Since he had to practice some adding, some subtracting, and math facts every single day, they finally “stuck”. This program wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy, but I am sold on this method for William. Next year for math, it’s Christian Light again!

Another curriculum that I love for William is All About Spelling. I attribute most of William’s reading success to this program, so it’s definitely on the slate for next year too! (Although, I think another big factor was Brain Integration Therapy from Dianne Craft.)

One big weakness that I’ve noticed this year is reading comprehension. I saw it in his math word problems. I noticed it when he read books for book club. So while he is finally able to read in a fairly fluent manner, the meaning of what he is reading is not really getting to his brain. Obviously this is a problem.

I’m floundering a bit with what to do about this. One thing I’m going to work on is narration. We’ve been using the Christian Liberty Press Nature Readers for reading practice. I am going to continue with these, but not stress so much over getting through the whole reading, but instead we’ll stop every paragraph and have him tell me what he just read.

Another resource I’m going to try is Reading Detective. I haven’t tried this yet, so I don’t know if it will be helpful or not, but I have been pleased with other resources from Critical Thinking Company.

Handwriting is also an issue for William. He is able to write neatly, but still struggles with putting the letters on the correct positions above and below the lines. We did some cursive with Handwriting without Tears last year. His cursive looked very nice, but he was unable to write in cursive without a model. He could copy cursive writing, but he couldn’t remember how to form letters without looking. This year I have purchased a Westminster Catechism copybook. My plan is for him to copy, then read what he copied. Hopefully that will help him with learning how to write directly in cursive.

You have probably noticed that I am leaving out content subjects with William. That is because we really are focusing on the 3R’s in formal school time. His history, geography, and science learning comes from his reading various books and watching documentaries. (Though his ability to learn through reading has been limited as I mentioned.) I do hope to include some formal history and science this year, but once again the focus will be on building the foundational skills.

 

Jul 062013
 

I had the opportunity to review the on-line reading program, Reading Eggs, last spring. My daughter Lizzie, really enjoyed the program and played it every day. Since then Reading Eggs has expanded. Now they have Eggy apps! These include Eggy Words, Eggy Alphabet, Eggy Phonics, and more.

I received 2 apps to review:

ipad-eggy_numbers2-6b53bf8b965f7e1bca33c6dcb5e850c3 Eggy Numbers has a variety of activities for young learners. There are multiple accounts allowed so more than one child can keep up with their progress. The activities include both those that teach the number, like drawing and copying,  the number, and those that teach counting.This app is available both for iPad and iPhone and is recommended for children ages 3 and up.

I played with this app and found the menu selection and games fairly intuitive. I did not have any problems with the game running. I liked the wide variety of animals used in the counting games. The graphics are attractive.

We do not have an iPad, so I was using my iPod Touch to review this. I think that although the game works fine on the iPod, the larger screen on an iPad would be better. My 2-1/2 year old son struggled with dragging the farm animals into the pen to count them. But he’s a little under the age recommendation for this app and not really counting yet. He says sequences of numbers, but doesn’t have the “point at one object – say one number” concept down. (I think the technical term is one-to-one correspondence.) Lizzie, 6-1/2, did play with the app and liked it, but the concepts are not ones that she needs practice.

 

ipad-eggynurseryrhymes1-04af70a0ba5912d663600131e1b45546Eggy Nursery Rhymes teaches young children a variety of nursery rhymes and uses the nursery rhymes to practice reading and spelling. Some of the familiar rhymes include Baa Baa Black Sheep, Humpty Dumpty, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. In the sing-along view, the bouncing ball shows the words of the nursery rhyme. Then the child can practice spelling various words in the rhyme or choose starting letters of various words in the rhyme.

I liked that the app allows you to select UK, Australian, or US accents. We found the bouncing ball was dragging a little behind the audio, but that is likely a problem with my iPod rather than the app. It’s a 2nd generation, so many of the new apps are pushing its limits. Once again, my kids didn’t match the age and skill levels perfectly. Andrew can watch the sing-along sections, and try to play the games, but he isn’t ready for the spelling exercises. Lizzie also likes the rhymes (and she doesn’t know them all, so it’s good exposure.), but most of the activities are too easy for her. (But she’s a very good reader for 6-1/2 years old.) Overall, these are great apps to have if you have young children. There is a lot of play value for only $2.99 each.