embracing life and letting God


Phonetics Zoo


and today
we are at The Zoo

The Phonetics Zoo

and Andrew Pudewa

The Phonetics Zoo is a spelling curriculum that approaches spelling with sight and sound.  This multi-sensory approach permits my student to see the word and then allows him to hear it spelled aloud allowing his ear and brain to make the connection.  Spelling sequentially, with repetition and frequency, and my student learns at his own pace taking the stress and struggle out of learning to spell and in turn giving him more success as a reader. 

We received for our review:

1 DVD "Spelling and the Brain"
Included on the DVD are the Teacher's Note (e-book)
5 Audio CD's
Large flash cards
Small Zoo Cards

I began the program by watching the DVD on how the brain works to neurologically process the information it takes in.  I was fascinated by the facts given on how my child processes letters and the combination of letters which form words.  I was able to further understand what might be the 'connect' or 'disconnect' when my children are learning to spell and then read.

I then presenteder the lesson and rule for the (day, week, etc.) to my son from the corresponding teachers cards.  These rules are simplified using fun rhymes and/or sing-song poem style that allow my student to really understand the rule.  For example:

I then presented my student with the miniaturized version of the teachers flash cards call "Zoo Cards".  Each mini card has a corresponding animal to illustrate the rule.  We took IEW's suggestion and made the Zoo Cage board for my son to visually have access to each card making it possible for him to, at a glance, remind him of the rule. 

The more lessons they navigate through the more "animals" they have for their cage doors. 

Moving on to the audio CD's each spelling list is auditorily given.  The teacher information suggests using head phone to block out any interference from the student, "reaping the greatest benefits." 

This was flexible for us because we have supplemental speakers that project the sound loud enough for him to hear the lesson clearly. 

The Lesson, the Rule and the spelling words are spoken by an instructor.  The student writes the 15 spelling words.  Once he completes this the instructor calls out the correct spelling of each word allowing your student to check their work. 

The best part of this curriculum is that my student takes this test until he is able to complete the test 100% twice in a row to assure he has mastered the words.  I have to say I love this approach.  It eliminates the discouragement that a student feels when the 'fail' to accomplish their goal of knowing how to spell the words completely. 

We have enjoyed this curriculum and will continue using it.  It has opened a door for my 9 year-old son, who has struggled with spelling in the past, to see the words really open up to him.  You can read more about the curriculum and other curriculum instruction from the Institute for Excellence in Writing here.

You can also read a very interesting article "Convert...to Pens!" by Andrew Pudewa.  An interesting article to help take even more pressure off of our children as they learn.

From My Heart to Yours,

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Delicious and Spicy!

In honor of the Christmas Season I wanted to share with you one of our favorite cookie gifts. 

Pepparkakor Swedish Gingersnaps

World Market.com
Nyakers Gingersnap Cookie Tin
The thin, crispy crunch of Nyaker Gingersnaps melts in your mouth to reveal heavenly flavors of ginger spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. No wonder Nyakers is recognized as the finest ginger snap in the world! Dressed up for gift giving in this festive red tin only available at World Market, Nyakers Gingersnaps are the perfect take-along for hostess gifts, office parties or any other occasion that calls for a sweet treat.
  • Each tin holds about 180 cookies  
  • World Market exclusive and customer favorite!  
  • In store only

 Find a location near you:

These lovely, little cookies are light wafers full of taste.  If you love gingersnaps these simply are the best.  We received them for many years from my mother-in-law before her passing.  We took up the tradition and decided to buy some on our own this year.  Then low and behold we were gifted another tin full of these luscious spicy delights.  Our favorite way to eat them is to add just a dollop of sweet whipped cream.  YUM!!!

So if you have a World Market near you this is a great cookie and a great gift to give friends or family. Enjoy!!!

From My Heart to Yours,
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Happy Birthday Jane

Today is Jane Austen's Birthday

Born December 16, 1775

A beautiful woman who never asserted herself a gifted writer. 

"I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress."
-letter to James Stanier Clarke, 11 Dec 1815

She had a flare for writing women who were witty and adamant in a time where propreity was crucial to obtaining right social standing.  Her characters were blunt, though polite:

"You have delighted us long enough."
-Pride and Prejudice, 1813
The nicest way to say, "Shut up", I suppose.

 They were honest through beautiful smiles. 

"One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."

She wrote the early dysfunctional family with humor, romance, thoughtfulness and veracity. 

"[Miss Austen] had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with...but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me."
-Walter Scott, Journal entry, 14 March 1826

In spite of the lack of  'happy ending's' in her own life she chose for her female characters struggle and heartache for love and social position, and unyielding stubborness, all of which she herself appeared to possess. But, in the end, she gave them victory over pride, melted the hearts of the most hardened to romance and love conquered all.  Faith, hope, love ... 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
-1 John 4:18

Happy Birthday Jane

From My Heart to Yours,

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Aleks Math

What is ALEKS?

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS offers truly individualized instruction that meets the student at her learning level and instructs her on the exact topics that she is most ready to learn. As a result, no two students will experience the same learning path while working in ALEKS. Learn more by watching a quick 2-minute video.

ALEKS can provide you with the instruction and support that you need to homeschool your children in mathematics for grades 3-12. With a comprehensive course library ranging from elementary school math to complex subjects such as PreCalculus, ALEKS acts much like a human tutor to help take the stress off of homeschooling parents.

ALEKS offers highly-targeted, individualized instruction from virtually any computer with Internet access, making it a comprehensive and mobile education solution for your children. A subscription to ALEKS offers access to all courses and your child may take as many courses as needed during their subscription period.

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Program:
Complete Curriculum Solution for Math with Access to Full Course Library

No Textbook Required

Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge

Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12

Master Account Includes Quizzing and Automated Reports to Monitor Learning Progress

Unlimited Online Access - PC and Mac Compatible

QuickTables - Complimentary Math Fact Mastery Program for Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction

ALEKS has been used successfully by homeschoolers, as well as by millions of students at schools and educational institutions throughout the world. Additionally, some ALEKS course products are American Council on Education (ACE) credit-recommended, meaning that your student may be eligible for college credit at participating colleges.

We were able to enjoy the extra 'tutoring' ALEKS provided to help drill my 12 year old son.  At first he found it difficult to read the information presented on the screen.  Once we discovered that we needed to increase the visual percentage to view the lessons we were off and running. 

Using a very simple approach my son began with an assessment test to determine what level he was to be placed in the program.  Once he took the assessment he was shown the following:

Student MyPie
MyPie: The ALEKS Pie summarizes a student's current knowledge and offers topics that the student is ready to learn next. The darkened portion of each pie slice represents the topics that the student has mastered and the lighter portion represents what the student has yet to learn.

I found this to be a wonderful way for Eagle 1 to see his progress as he journeyed through each lesson.  Your student will go to My Pie daily to tour through the areas in which the Assessment Testing discovered your student needs work or further practice.  I also enjoyed having the pie so that I could see his progress and where his study would take him next.

Student Explanations
Explanations: When a student is working on a particular problem, she can access an explanation of that problem by clicking on the "Explain" button. The explanation typically provides a step-by-step solution, with commentary. In some cases, an alternative or more detailed explanation is also available.

When my son was unable to answer a question correctly the system would provide the question over again in different forms but with the same idea. This enabled him to fully understand the equation.  Aleks also provides visual explanations for why a problems answer is what it is.  He found that when the question was repeated he was a little frustrated at times because his personality does not like to allow for practice, practice, practice.  He wants to get the answer right and move on.  I found this to be great for him to overcome this mild 'quirk' to gain the knowledge needed.  Practice makes perfect!

Also available are Printable Worksheet, Learning Modes
Student Problem Two 
Learning Mode: The Learning Mode provides students with practice problems, and offers explanations of topics and procedures as needed. Once a student has demonstrated mastery in the Learning Mode, the topic is added to the ALEKS Pie, and new material that the student is now ready to learn becomes available.

Quick Tables
Student Problem Two
ALEKS QuickTables: QuickTables is a research-based, math fact mastery program for multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.

Interactive Games, Master Account page, Attendance and Student Progress Reports.

I think the only construction advice I would give is to make the numbers and answer blanks more visually  easy to read and access.  This was the only complaint that Eagle 1 and I both felt was not the best it could be.

This program has been a nice addition to our regular math program.  Instead of boring flash cards or worksheets he is able to feed the inner computer love he has and learn while he's at it.

Now it's your turn...

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

From My Heart to Yours,

I received this product free of charge for review purposes only.
Reviews are strictly my personal opinion of product.

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Christmas Photos 2010

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Let Him Comfort You

The God of All comfort, who comforts us.
-2 Corinthians 1:3-4

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.
When they are troubled, we will be able to
give them the same comfort God has given us.
-2 Corinthians 1:4

May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to your promise to your servant.
-Psalm 119:76

Be kind and compassionate to one another,
comforting, forgiving each other,
just as in Christ God forgave you.
-Ephesians 4:32

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him,
so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
-2 Corinthians 2:7

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."
-Isaiah 66:13

To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

-Isaiah 61:2

Because Christ suffered so much for us,
we can receive so much comfort from him.
-2 Corinthians 1:5

You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.

Psalm 71:21

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life, it gives me life.
Psalm 119:50

I've seen their [sinful] ways, but I'll heal them.
I'll guide them and give them rest.
I'll comfort them...
-Isaiah 57:18

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
-Psalm 23:4

From My Heart to Yours,

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Slow Down...

...and create a moment of peace. 

Allow yourself to STOP, right now! Come to rest at the feet of The One and Only.

Take in your favorite scripture and let it soak into your heart, mind and soul.  "The Lord is my Strength, The Lord is my Strength, The Lord is my Strength...."

Light a candle and give thanks to the Lord that He is the Light and the Glory, chasing away the darkness that tries to invade your life.

Say prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise for the blessings He has bestowed upon you even in the midst of the storms.

Pray for protection for you and your family and loved one.  Plead the Blood of Jesus over them drawing a hedge of protection around them (as the Israelites did by applying the blood of the lamb on the doorposts in Egypt). 

Sing the blessed hymn,

"What can wash away my sin,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
What can make me whole again,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,

Refrain: Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,

All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Treat yourself to a hot bath, a short nap or a walk in the crisp cool air to rejuvenate your body and mind and ward off the stresses and strains of the world and enjoy The Christ!  For He love loves you and came to live and die so that you may live and never die but live Eternally with Him in Glory.

In Christ Alone,

I am linking up with Women Living Well Blog and her "Peace on Earth December Challenge".

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The Master Fractions


Review Day

Today we are learning about fractions with

The Master Fractions 2,3,5

"An outgrowth of a teacher's prayer.  Frustrated because the lines on standard rulers confused her students, and unable to find anything suitable on the market, she prayed and asked The Lord for help.  In a dream she saw the math tool, "The Master Ruler", which is now being used by people everywhere."

The two key components in the learning tools we were given to review were the workbook and transparent overlays.  

$15.95 at The Master Ruler

 "Mastering The World of Fractions with the Master Fractions" workbook brings this often hard to comprehend concept to life, by using practical, real-world lessons to help your student easily understand.

The Master Fraction set of 3 consists of the following:

•The Master Fraction (2) , divides geometric shapes into halves, quarters,eighths, and sixteenths.
•The Master Fraction (3), clearly illustrates thirds, sixths, and twelfths.
•The Master Fraction (5), also dividing geometric shapes, clearly illustrates fifths, tenths, and twentieths.

Fraction, Decimal, Percent, Equivalents are printed on the back of each of the three units.

The Master Fraction (2/3/5), with their transparent overlays make fractions easy to see and understand. Students of all ages quickly grasp the concepts of equivalency, reducing, improper, proper, adding, subtracting common and uncommon denominators, mixed numbers, and more! The geometric shapes, bright colors, and "easy turn" overlays make this a favorite of teachers and students alike.

After using the Master Fraction set, students will have a further comprehension of:

•Equivalent Fractions
•Common / Uncommon Denominators •Adding / Subtraction
•Proper / Improper
•Mixed Numbers
•Decimal / Percent Equivalents
$17.95 at The Master Ruler

Product Description

To enhance their understanding, students are given the transparent overlays to See the word problems become real.  I love these. They are sturdy, easy to use and a great visual enhancement to each lesson.

Targeted for Grades 1-5 these lessons can be translated into everyday situations in the home, at the grocery store, while sharing your favorite cookies with friends, and for any age.  They can be used with a more mature student who may be struggling with the basic concepts or just  need to review fractions looking at the problems from different perspectives.

For my student(s) this was a good refresher course with increasing instruction to help them gain a greater knowledge of fractions, mixed numbers, proper and improper, etc.  For us, as we use Teaching Textbook for our math curricula, when a fraction problem needed a little more instruction we were able to stop work through the problem with the overlays and get back on track because they were able to see what the problem was drawing out of them in real life.  A great supplement to any math curricula, I would recommend having this program to enhance your students learning.

The visual knowledge they obtain solidifies the imprinting of understanding in their memory to truly grasp fractions.

From My Heart to Yours,
I received this product free of charge for review purposes only.
Reviews are strictly my personal opinion of this product.

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