Today's Wisdom

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Review: Spelling You See American Spirit Level E

Spelling You See Review
You may be familiar with the popular homeschool math curriculum called Math-U-See. Well, Demme Learning has now added a sibling to their family for spelling called, Spelling You See

It's no secret that all 3 of my children struggle in spelling!  This year has been our best yet but I still felt that we were not where we needed to be so I jumped at the chance to review Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E)!  We have tried many different approaches to spelling including learning phonics rules and word lists with little success.

Spelling You See takes a totally different approach where there are no word lists or phonic rules to memorize. It is meant for elementary ages, or for remedial work for older students.The program takes you through 5 Developmental Stages of Spelling.  These stages are sequential meaning they build upon one another so placement guidelines are very important with this curriculum. Spelling You See describes the stages as this, "The developmental process of spelling is similar to what children go through when learning to walk. They need to develop the prerequisite skill of crawling before they can move on to walking and then running. In the same way, this program guides your homeschool student through the stages in the process of learning to spell."

The 5 stages are Preliterate, Phonetic, Skill Development, Word Extension, and Derivational Constancy.  You can watch a short video of Dr. Holinga describing each of the stages here
There are 5 levels available to take you through each of those developmental stages.  You can learn more about the stages and levels on the website. 
Spelling You See Review

How we use Spelling You See In Our Homeschool

After using the placement guidelines, I decided that both Stephen (7th - age 13) and Sarah (5th - age 10) needed to begin in Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E) and I think that level fits both of them very well.
Spelling You See Review
Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E) provides continued practice in the Skill Development stage.  The Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E) student pack includes 2 student workbooks, and a pack of erasable colored pencils for the price of $30 for the set. At first we shared the pencils but I quickly found out that my children loved having their own pencils.  There is also an instructor's handbook available $14 that you can purchase separately.  
Spelling You See Review
There are 36 lessons with each lesson broken down into a daily worksheet labeled with the lesson number and daily sheet.  For example - Lesson 1A for Monday, Lesson 2B for Tuesday, Lesson 3C for Wednesday, Lesson 4D for Thursday, and Lesson 5E for Friday.  In the American Spirit level, each lesson contains a nonfiction passage about people and events from American history.

In this level, you will use the three core activities of chunking, copywork, and dictation. 
In each lesson, you are given certain chunks to look for and mark in a special color such as vowel (yellow), consonant (blue), bossy r (purple), tricky y guy (green), endings (pink or red), and silent letters (orange).  The student uses the appropriate colored pencil to mark the chunks given in each lesson.  This helps the student become familiar with many of English's irregular letter patterns.

The student has 3 days of copywork per lesson.  We adapted this for a 4 day school week and dropped one of the copywork days.  The process of copywork allows the student to take the words in visually and then copy them kinesthetically (actually writing the word - doing).  This is not a time to stress penmanship and copywork is not done in cursive.  This is simply a time for the child to see the word and then copy it allowing the student to become more familiar with the word

They are 2 days designed for dictation days.  We set a timer for 10 minutes and I would read a sentence from the passage, helping where needed with punctuation, proper nouns, and capitalization.  At the end of the 10 minutes, we count the number of correct words spelled by the student and mark them on the appropriate spot on the page.  If a timer intimidates you child, then drop the timer and just try to stick with the 10 minute time frame without it.  I know, Sarah, would have frozen at the mention of a timer a few years ago but now she is more comfortable with it.  Sometimes we skipped the 2nd dictation day with my 7th grader (Stephen) who often got the entire passage correct the first time.  However, Sarah who is in 5th needed all 4-5 days to really see improvement with her spelling.

Here is a video we put together of us in action during week 2.  

You can download a sample of American Spirit.  There are also samples available for each level.  

We love this curriculum!  It is so different than any that we have ever used before. The concept is so simple and easy.  Ther are no tests.  There is no preparation needed from the parent ahead of time and the instructor's guide makes it easy for you to check your student's work because it provides a colorful answer key for all the chunks.  I asked Stephen and Sarah if they wanted to continue using this after our review period and they both said, "YES!"  

You can visit the getting started page to find out where you need to start with your child. You can also download their Spelling Readiness Guidelines to help you decide.   Spelling You See: American Spirit (Level E) is available for purchase here and the other levels can be found here.  

You can also find Spelling You See on Facebook and Twitter.

Click the banner below to see Spelling You See (all levels) in action in homeschools.
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Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh Review and Giveaway

In stores now, you can find the wonderful smelling Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh laundry enhancer. 

Make your towels, blankets, and clothes smell fresh for weeks! It smells so fresh that I keep smelling our blankets over and over!  It has been almost a week since I washed them and the smell is still so fresh and clean.  Those blankets are also more soft and fluffy.  The laundry crystals do not reduce the absorbency of towels and it is safe for use in all loads including children's sleepwear and athletic wear.  Can you say bye bye smelly stinky soccer socks?  Woohoo!

Here's your chance to win a coupon for your very own free bottle of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh.  The coupon expiration date is 09/01/2014.  This giveaway will close on 04/06/14 and I will choose 2 winners from the entries below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer:  The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh in exchange for a product review.  However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pre-Sale on planners ends 3/31!

Pre-order your Well Planned Day Planners before 3/31 to get the lowest price of the year!  

Here is a glimpse at how I use this planner in our home.  

There is also a brand new blog planner - can't wait to check that one out!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Ups 24 & 25

In my life this week…
Wow, what a two weeks!  We have been busy busy making memories.  :)

Update on Jonathan:  The bone is in line so hopefully after 4 weeks in a removable splint/cast he will be back to normal. Thank you, Lord!

In other news, I was SO excited to find out that I was accepted on the launch team for Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze's new book, Smart Money Smart Kids.  I'm up to chapter 4 now and went ahead and ordered the hardbound book.  It is truly my goal to teach my kids more about money than I was taught! My wish for them is to not be a slave to the lender EVER!

We went to the Winter Jam tour!  The talent ranged from 80's to hard rock to rap, and all were awesome! It was our 2nd time seeing Lecrae and as always, he was amazing.  I love his lyrics!!  For those not into rap or who couldn't understand what he was saying, he stopped and spoke the lyrics. His love and servant's heart for our Lord is so wonderful.

It was our first time seeing the Newsboys in concert and they blew us away!  We bought both their albums and waited around to get them signed even!

We also went to see God's Not Dead this weekend.  Another  time of awesomeness.  :)

Stephen had the opportunity to meet the Duggar family at a book signing and brought back a gift for his mama. I am a huge Duggar fan as well. :) I haven't started reading this one yet but it's on my list after Smart Kids Smart Money.

In our homeschool this week…

We are using Apologia's Astronomy book for science as part of our My Father's World Rome to Reformation curriculum. Last week was Venus and this week was Earth.  We did a little experiment using butter in comparison with rocks and what happens when they are melted.

Weigh In
One week I was the same weight and this past week I was up 1.5 pounds.  It was not a surprise at all as I have totally slacked.  A busy life tends to do that to me.  I can only focus on so much at one time no matter how hard I try!  Now is the time to refocus on healthy eating habits.

I’m cooking…

I haven't been keeping up with our meals too much so thought I would show a couple of our favorite frugal meal ideas.

One of our favorite snacks is apples mixed with jello.  We tried with sugar free and regular this time and we all agreed that the sugar free was just as good!

Oven barbecued chicken and broccoli is always a go to meal on hand in our home.  This time I paired it with a salad.

Pasta of different kinds is always another staple meal that we keep on hand.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Smart Money, Smart Kids

I am currently participating in the launch team for a new book coming out, Smart Money Smart Kids by #1 New York Times Best Selling Author, Dave Ramsey, and his daughter, Rachel Cruze.  I have been a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan for years and my goal is to teach my children what I was never taught!

We are currently on the dreaded Baby Step number 2 and it feels like it lasts FOREVER!!  My high school student is also taking the Foundations In Personal Finance course by Dave Ramsey and I'm taking it right along with him!  I want my children to skip Baby step 2 all together!  That's where this book will help!  I'm currently on Chapter 3 and already find myself shaking my head in relation and learning so much to share with my family!  

The book will not be available until April 22, but you can pre-order it now and get an additional $50 worth of free extras!  Check out the Smart Money Smart Kids website for more information.

Currently, Amazon has the best deal at $18.62 and free shipping for Prime Members.

Stay tuned to hear more from me on this wonderful book!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Egglo Entertainment

Egglo Review
In our home, we have a saying, "Is your light shining?". My children know that means, are you making the right choices and are you representing Jesus (the light of the world).

Egglo Entertainment has come up with a phenomenal way to reinforce that same lesson with Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs and The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure

Egglo Review

The concept is so simple yet so incredibly powerful!  Glow in the dark plastic Easter eggs are used as a ministry tool to teach children that Jesus is the light of the world through an interactive storybook, games, and egg hunts.  The eggs glow in the dark and you search for the light just as we search for Jesus (the light).  It is based on the scripture verse from John 1:5, "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  What a visual way of seeing this little light glowing in the darkness!

There are so many ways to use the Egglo Eggs from traditional Easter egg hunts at home, community, Sunday School, youth groups, etc. The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure Program Guide directs you completely so you can have no fear in leading a hunt in your area.  The program is very adaptable so you can pick and choose the plan that best fits your needs. It includes printable coloring sheets, posters, stickers, and much more to make your event a success! You can also find ideas on using your eggs year round here

Egglo Review
Since we were reviewing before Easter, I chose to do a scavenger hunt for my children during our family devotion time.  We began by reading and listening to the audio book and then finished with the scavenger hunt ideas.  My children loved seeing the eggs glow up and it was another great reminder of how just a small light shining in the world can make a great impact.  

Egglo Entertainment's suggested light exposure times and sources are listed below.  Cold weather will also affect the duration of the eggs glow.

Sunlight: 20 minutes direct exposure
Black light: 30 minutes direct exposure
Fluorescent: 40 minutes direct exposure
Incandescent light: 60 minutes direct exposure

Our lighting was incandescent so I let them sit for the full hour.  Three hours later, ours still had a faint glow in the bathroom with no windows.  The website says this about the glow, "Egglo eggs glow best for up to one hour and diminish over the next 1-2 hours. Use over and over again for years of enjoyment. "  We found this statement to be very true!
Here's a picture of our eggs at the beginning of the charge.

My daughter also likes to secretly "charge" the eggs and leave them in different places around the home for us to stumble upon (like the bathroom where it is the darkest - haha).  She's always loved leaving love notes for us to find and this is just another way of her showing her love and the love of Jesus.  She usually leaves one of the Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls which contain different verses from the Bible. It's like getting our very own love letter egg from God.  Now, that's how I want my children to remember their childhood!

Price and Buying Information at the time of this review
If you are interested in purchasing your very own Egglo Kit or any of the individual items, you can do so here.

Egglo Review

You can also find Egglo Entertainment other places on the web:

Our Final Thoughts

Our family loved every item we received from Egglo Entertainment.  I felt the price was very reasonable for the quality and quantity of product your receive.  This will be a new Easter tradition for our family!  Click the banner below to see what other families thought.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up - Week 23

In my life this week…
One word for you - emotional!  That seems to be happening a lot lately but as we all know, this too shall pass!

First up, the boy who is going to drive his mama crazy.  He is the living, walking commercial of that little boy who his mom says, he'll never make it to 2, he'll never make it to 5, etc.  :)

This time he broke a bone in his hand.  We have an appointment set for Tuesday to find out more.  

He was helping tear down a wall at the youth house and decided it would be fun to see if he could punch the wall and knock it down with his hand.  Well, the wall not only had sheet rock but cement poured in it.  OUCH and BOYS!!  My mind surely does not work that way.  I wouldn't even think of punching a wall for fun, lol.  You wouldn't even know it though.  He isn't hurting, kept on working after until our Pastor noticed it didn't look right.  Sure enough, he broke the bone just under his pinky.  This is the inside.  He hit the wall with the outside of his hand.  The whole inside is now black, blue, and swollen.

In our homeschool this week…
So, remember Jonathan is pretty much starting over with high school.  Now, we have a hand delay.  All I can do is laugh.  His books came in this week.  I spent some time seeing what needed to be done, planning, and setting up a new filing system for it all.  He began this week and I had a full week already planned out for next week.  Again, laugh.  Those plans - yeah right - whatever! We will do what we can and hope to know more after Tuesday.  God has a plan!  I'm learning.  :)

We also had a little school on the road this week.  This is a crazy busy time for us so we get it done when we can.

Weigh In
I was down another 0.8 this week bringing the total to 12.8! That was surprising because I am very much an emotional eater.  Hoping to keep it down for this week too!

I’m cooking…
Here are our dinners for this past week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Menu Plan and Budget

Budget - $400 - I think we can, I think we can! 

Our family monthly budget is $500 (just raised this in December to allow a little more freedom in our groceries for hungry teenagers) but I am going to try my best to stick with $400 each month.  So far, for DecemberJanuary, and February I haven't been able to do that.  

Our breakfast and lunch menus stay pretty much the same and breakfast foods are always available as a backup dinner option too!

I don't elaborately plan but like to have an idea of what is on hand and what is needed. 

Here is my list of March Meals.  

ham steaks
pasta x 4
oven bbq chicken x 2
rotisserie chicken
pork roast
eMeals ideas x 4
cubed steak
beef roast
sloppy joes
breakfast x 2

I'll add in the videos as I make them and update the budget overage/shortage.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review - Motivated Moms Ebook

Motivated Moms Review
Motivated Moms is the weapon we choose to tackle our house cleaning schedule!  I have used the Motivated Moms Ebooks for several years and it does a wonderful job of breaking the chore of housekeeping down into bite size chunks.  

As a homeschool mom of 3 busy children, housework is sometimes left in the dust - literally! If you show up uninvited to our home, you will likely find some things out of place. Our home is lived in and I'm really okay with that.  I like knowing that house cleaning is being accomplished and that's where Motivated Moms saves the day (or year!).

On each of the planners, chores are broken down for you on a daily basis. You don't need to keep track of what needs to be done or when to do it.  The planner does all of that for you!   The printable version is available in many different varieties.  A touch of color is also a new feature this year!

Full-Sized Chore Planner
  • These planner pages include all daily and weekly chores on 1 page
  • You can choose planners with or without scheduled Bible readings (plans allow you to read the Bible in a year)
  • You can choose between color and black/white
Motivated Moms Review

Full-Sized Page Per Day Planner
  • These planner pages have one day of chores per day, a box for menu plan, lines for appointments, and a notes section) 
  • You can choose with or without scheduled Bible readings
  • You can choose color or black/white
Motivated Moms Review
Also available are half-sized planners that have the exact same options as the full-sized planner but only use half a sheet of paper.

How We Use the Motivated Moms Ebook Planner
We have found that you can normally complete the chores within an hour especially if you delegate like I do!  Saturdays are my planning days so I print out the sheet for the week and start delegating.  I just write the child's name beside the chore I'd like for them to do that day.  We usually complete a lot of the daily chores before school and the chores listed each day are completed in the afternoon.  You can see here where I simply added who I wanted to do what.  Simple and fast!  Chores are often hard to get done but this makes it work so much easier for us.  I chose the version with a touch of color this time.  I still like the simplicity but the pop of color is a great touch! 

I love the Ebook versions because I am a hand written paper planner kinda gal. 

The Ebook versions can be purchased and downloaded to your computer through paypal for $8 each. (must have Adobe Reader or other pdf reader)

If you like digital chore checklists best, then Motivated Moms also has apps available for iPhone/iPad/iPod and Android.  You can pay 99¢ for one month or $7.99 for one year.

My thoughts
You know what I think I love the most about this planner? The simplicity. It simply has what needs to be done. Household chores can be done quickly and effeciently.  It also has lots of different versions available suiting the needs of every household.  The price is very reasonable as well!  

Click the banner below to see other reviews of the Motivated Moms Ebooks and Apps.  You can also find Motivated Moms on Facebook and Twitter.

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