embracing life and letting God


The Reading Game - TOS Review

It's Monday!
It's Review Day!

"Make learning to read

fun, fast & effective!"

Take a memory game and story books all wrapped into one great little package of reading fun and you have...

I know it is hard to believe, but I have found another great reading program that makes reading such a breeze and so much F.U.N.  My little Anna is 5 and learning to master reading.  She LOVES to play the memory game (and is very good I might add - that girl has a mind like a vault ;-)  She LOVES to play games period.  She is always trying to create her own when she can't find ones that we have put away in our home.  Well, this program is just a perfect fit for her new adventure into reading discovery. 

The Reading Game consists of 6 decks of word memory cards, each with six levels of words to master, and 6 books that correspond to the matching word memory cards. 

The idea of the game is:
  • Anna plays with a teacher (Me, one of my sons or husband - someone who can read and instruct her in how to pronounce the words) 
  • Starting with Book 1 "Skunk" word cards and Level 1 words she lays out the cards, words facing down, to play the Memory Game (matching like words). 
  • If she does not already know the words then we help her sound it out and see the word to make the visual memory connection. 
  • Once Anna has mastered all of the level 1 words without help we then add the level 2 words, and so-on-and-so-forth all the way through Level 6 word cards.
  • When she accomplishes the mastery of these words she is ready to read Book 1 'Skunk'
  • When she reads her Book 1 she then moves on to the next stories set of word memory cards until all 6 books have been read. 

How precious it was to see her eyes light up when she realized that she made a match and then to recognize a word she may have just learned - oh, that was just icing on the cake.  This inspired her to want to learn more and more and more words.  She didn't want to do any other school because she was making such progress with The Reading Game. 

As we are playing the memory games I allow her the chance to read my cards just to reinforce her learning futher.  I also took the oportunity to allow her to read the book when she completed one level of words, not waiting to complete all six first.  She was so excited to get on to reading that I really think it helped her stay motivated because she was able to read the story with me - she read the words she learned, me reading the rest.  When she didn't know a word I would read it to her and then she would want to repeat what it said back to me. 

Needless to say, I highly recommend this game for your up-and-coming reader.  I know they will enjoy "The fast action memory card game and storybooks that make learning fun!"

The Reading Game is a fast-action memory card game.
It includes a series of six beautifully illustrated storybooks.

The Cards & Books work together to make learning to read exciting and enjoyable.
Game sessions are fun-filled with a winner every few seconds.
After completing the first memory card game, the student has thirty words “hardwired” into memory.

The Skunk story, Book One in the series, is told using only those thirty words.

On completing the series, the student has a reading vocabulary of 180 words.

Almost half of them are among the one hundred most commonly used words in the English language.

The Reading Game was created by “Wordly Wise” author, Kenneth Hodkinson.

Learn more about How The Game Works

$24.95 ea
-6 decks of memory playing cards
-6 storybooks
-Plus a Parent/Teacher guide
Ages 4+
2 Players
15% off orders of 8 or more

Purchase your own The Reading Game HERE.

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews of The Reading Game from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew

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Cyber Monday Sale You Do Not Want to Miss

Cyber Monday!

is having a fabulous sale that you do not want to miss.
Monday, November 28, 2011
5 a.m. to Midnight (MST)
The earlier you shop the more you save!

55% Off

5-7 am (MST) 

   50% off
7-10 am (MST)

45% off
10 am- Noon (MST)

30% off
Noon-Midnight (MST)


Check out Amanda's fun Unit Studies - Passport Geography, Download N Go, Unit Studies in her STORE today!

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Read Naturally's One Minute Reader - TOS Review



and today I am so pleased to share with you

I was truly excited when I was selected to review One Minute Reader.  My 10 year-old son has some struggles with reading some days, so once I read the description, I thought this might just be the program he needs to boost his reading skills as well as his desire for reading.

One Minute Reader is a home reading program that uses the same research-based strategy as Read Naturally classroom programs. One Minute Reader is a fun and effective way for students to get extra reading practice at home.

For our review we received:

Ready, Set, Orange! Level 1 Starter Kit
Price: $24.95
A book with Audio CD
Instructional DVD
Scoring Pencil

As well as a bonus Disasters Level 3 Book/CD

Level 1 Ready, Set, Orange! - 5 Stories: Salmon, Ann Bancroft, Fan Palms, Big Ben, and the Nile River
Level 3 Disasters- 5 Stories: Titanic's Forgotten Sister, An Unquenchable Fire, Deadly Dust, Caught Unprepared, and Mystery at Rupkund Lake

These 1 page stories are five high-interest nonfiction stories that are the right length for readers to practice without being overwhelming. In fact, Nicholas enjoyed these short and interesting stories so much that he was bringing his reading to me asking if we could do it together.  Wow! 

"Lots of people think Big Ben is a clock.  But Big Ben is not a clock...Big Ben is a bell."
-Ready, Set, Orange p. 9 

In each story, Vocabulary words are highlighted in bold, giving attention to words the are defined in the glossary in the back of the book.   Each sentence line is numbered with the word count, increasing with the number of words read. 

Starting with the book, the 1 Minute Timer, and the red/blue recording pencil, Nicholas read the story, out-loud, to me until the one-minute timer went off.  Looking to the side, he checked to see how many words he read in one minute.  If he missed or struggled with any words, he underlined them with his pencil. Then recorded his 'cold' score in blue at the bottom of the page and the graph in the back of the book. This number is how many words he read in one minute minus any words missed.
Sample Book
Students develop fluency through modeling (Read Along step), repeated reading (Read Alone step), and progress monitoring (Marking Hot and Cold Scores steps). Students should work in One Minute Reader for 15 to 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week.

Audio CD: Each story is accompanied by 3 Audio readings, starting at a slow pace and gradually increasing each time the narrators reads. At the top of the story page there is a small notation on which track to use on the CD. 

This is when Nicholas would read out-loud with the narrator, over and over, to gain a better handle on the words and story.  Once he felt like he was able to read the story faster without mistakes he then read it outloud to me again.  This time his goal was to improve his score/# of words read in a minute, with fewer mistakes.  I can not tell you how refreshing it was to see him to want to read, not be overwhelmed by the information or length and challenge himself to be better every time he read. 

Quick Quiz: Answering questions about the story encourages students to read for meaning.

These are comprehension, multiple choice questions that helped Nicholas solidify the information he read more concretely into memory. Later, the answers helped him to solve the Joke Jumble game in the back of the book. What a fun reward after all their hard work.

Graph: By graphing their cold and hot scores, students see their progress, which increases self-esteem and motivates them to continue improving.

Sample Record and Activity Sheet

I found this to be extremely true for Nicholas.  He was inspired by the 'beat the clock' time to not miss a single word.  Then it became a race to read the story completely before the timer beeped.  It was great to see him so motivated to get it right so that his 'hot' score was at least much better than his cold if not at 100%.Joke Jumble: The answers to the quiz questions spell out the answers to a riddle.
A fun way to reward for your student after working so hard to complete their reading.

Crossword & Glossary: These help students learn new words from the stories.

Did You Know?: These are fun facts about the story topics.

"The sister ships, the Olympic, the Titanic and the Britannic, had a common passenger.  Violet Jessop survived the crash of the Olympic and the sinking's of both the Titanic and the Britannic."
The instructional DVD that comes with the kit is for the parent to view prior to beginning the program to grasp a greater understanding of how One Minute Reader works. 

To find your child's reading level Read Naturally offers you a One Minute Reader Placement Guide

To Purchase your One Minute Reader Starter Kit or Books Level 1 through 5 you can visit:

Other Level 1 Book/CD Titles include:

And more...

Other Level 3 Book/CD Titles include:

And more...

8 Books in each Level set that you can purchase in a Bundle for $99.95 or individually for $12.95

Thank you for reading!

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE

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College Prep Genius: Vocab Cafe Series - TOS Review



My son, Cameron, and I are pleased to share with you today

College Prep Genius brings you fiction stories for teenagers rich with mystery, excitement and SAT vocabulary words used in context and defined for your student to increase his/her vocabulary knowledge.  I LOVE this concept.  I have, for years, wanted my own literature to have definition references somewhere in the book to help me save time, keeping me from running to the dictionary each time I didn't understand a word.  I love definitions and am always looking for the deeper meaning of words. 

On every page of text there are focus words italicized and bold.  At the end of each page your student is given a short definition of each one of these words.  At the end of the chapters the words are listed in a Word Review list.  This list does not contain the definitions. One recommendation I would suggest for using the Word Review List is to allow your student to take these words and make flash card to truly reinforce their spelling and meaning.  I have to say there are words in these books that I have never even heard of.  So, I have discovered some new vocabulary myself.

meretricious - (mer-i-trish-uhs) - Adj. - gaudy or falsely attractive

Since Cameron is 13 I was a little unsure about the possible teenage content.  Reassured by College Prep Genius website that these would contain no foul language, sexual themes or sorcery we pressed on.  I have allowed Cameron to help me with reviewing these novellas because he was the main one reading them.  I found a couple of instances where the book uses words like the 'hottest' to describe a girl.  I do not like this language as we do not allow our boys to talk about women like this. Be aware that I. M. for murder should contain a Parental Discretion Advised due to some graphic/violent content as the title would suggest. 

Here are Cameron's thoughts on each book and what he thought of the VocabCafe format:

Operation High School
A book about a new student in the high school who seems to be invisible.  Always alone.  "This book was not extremely exciting to me in the beginning, and at points didn't make much sense.  In my opinion, the storyline seemed sort of silly as it was based around a girl who was kidnapped by a group of teens who kept giving her test on where she was and why she was there.  Her kidnappers were young teenagers who were testing their spy skills on their fellow classmates.  It wasn't thrilling but had a lot of interesting words I was able to learn, many I had never heard before.  It gave me a lot of words to add to my vocabulary.  Besides the silliness it was an overall good book."

Planet Exile
"A space adventure about a young man who is sent away by his parents to a space camp for kids with bad behavior, like a military school.  These teens like to pull a lot of pranks eventually causing the ship to crash where there are a lot of bad guys.  This was my least favorite of the books I think mainly because the main character was a hoodlum and he didn't care about his personal hygiene or his appearance. There didn't seem to be as much vocabulary in this one.  At time I felt the words were placed where they were not necessary but I still learned new ones I didn't know before." 

petulant (pech-uh-luhnt) -Adj - showing impatient irritation

I.M. For Murder
"This was my favorite out of the series.  Full of action with humor throughout.  This book has a plethora of words I already knew and many of which I didn't know.  It was very interesting to me and I have added it to my personal reading list.  The story follows the high school tennis teams star and his two friends and the star trying to get a date with the 'love of his life'.  The adventure ensues when the two friends create a fake dating profile for the tennis star.  Mystery, the love of his life may be in danger and murder all add up to a fun book."

The Summer of Saint Nick (we were unable to read this one through)
As the summer is about to begin a young man discovers a small fortune and can't decide what to do with this money.  "The Summer of Saint Nick is a thought-provoking story of chance, romance, mystery and sacrifice."

VocabCafé books help students easily learn SAT-level words while reading an original wholesome story.  These modern novellas contain no foul language, no illicit sexual themes, and no sorcery! 
Based on a three-step approach to increasing vocabulary, each book highlights 300 advanced words by using DEFINITION, REPETITION, and REINFORCEMENTReaders find the definition of every highlighted word at the bottom of the page -- a word review and appendix complement the learning process!  STOP wasting your time on fiction books that don’t enhance your knowledge.

Complete Vocabcafe Series Special

Get all 4 Vocabcafe series books for the price of 3:
Order now and you will receive:
IM for Murder
Operation High school
Planet Exile
Summer of St Nick
Each books sells for $12.95
Purchase your copy HERE

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE

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Keyboard Town Pals - TOS Review



I am sharing with you...

Learning to Type is Fun, Fast and Easy!

Keyboard Town Pals is a typing program for children ages 7 through age adult.  Brought to you from the creative members of the popular show Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, this program uses vibrant colors, puppets, musics and humor to teach proper typing position and technique.


A succession of eight videos, 5 to 8 minutes in length, your student learns along with Sunny, correct placement of their fingers on the keyboard or as KTP affectionately calls HomeKey Street where your fingers live, as well as uptown and downtown friends.  Each letter has its own character/puppet and name.  Your student learns by practice with the video and helping hands practicing over and over going uptown and downtown.

The creators say if you have an hour they can teach your child to type correctly using the PALS or Purposeful Associated Learning System at their own pace.  When your child associates 'A' with Amy they are making the visual, auditory and kinesthetics, i.e. body position, hand position, muscles etc. needed to create a new and lasting memory of the placement of 'A' on the keyboard.

I was a little fooled by the claim that it only takes an hour.  But, once in the program you soon realize that watching and using the entire program takes about an hour in one sitting.  Once your student begins the program he/she can come back for practice as many times as necessary to train their little hands and memory in proper positioning.

My little girl (5) was so excited once she saw the program because of the fun puppets and music.  She tried to make use of the training but found herself unable to use her hands the was they were instructing her.  She continues, slowly, to try though.  So the age recommendation is correct.  Age 7 is where your student is developmentally ready with the motor skills necessary to accomplish this program. 

My boys, ages 10 and 13 were a little less impressed with the childish nature of the characters.  They are boys so the program seemed very silly to them.  But, as I was classically trained in high school, proper typing technique, this program shares a fun way of learning above the hunt-and-peck method to teach them proficient typing skills. 

Check out 'A' Amy, who lives in the first house on HomeKey Street as she visits 'Z' zebras her favorite animal in this sample video:

You can purchase your Keyboad Town Pals at the KTP Shop HERE :

products_softwareCD-ROM $35.00

  product_bundle2CD-ROM Bundle $45.00

productboxes_cdrom CD-ROM plus Companion Product $40.00

 productboxes_webbased Web Based $30.00

As a reviewer I was contacted about reviewing the web-based program.  After going back and forth with KTP we never could get the system to work for me.  I was supposed to receive an activation email.  After many attempts KTP sent me the CD-ROM version which worked perfectly. 

I enjoyed this program for the efficiency of which they train students to type the right way.  I found it to be a bit childish for the older children and would like a program that would appeal to older children at their level. 

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE

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2011 Gratitude Challenge Day 9 -The Great I AM

I am thankful for this amazing worship song...
I wanna to be close close to your side
So heaven is real and death is alive
I wanna hear voices of angels above
Singing as one Hallelujah
Holy Holy
God almighty
Great I am
Who is worthy
None beside Thee
God Almighty
Great I Am
I wanna be near near to your heart
Loving the world hating the dark
I want to see troubles living again
Singing as one Hallelujah
Holy Holy
God almighty
Great I am
Who is worthy
None beside Thee
God Almighty
Great I Am
He's the Great I Am
Great I Am
The mountains shake before Him
The demons run and flee
At the mention of the name King of Majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am 
Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The mountains shake before Him
The demons run and flee
At the mention of the name King of Majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
the Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
The Great I am
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Bower Books "The Person I Marry" - TOS Review

Things I'll Think About Long Before I Say 'I DO'
2010 Book of the Year
Christian Small Publisher Association

It has received wonderful endorsements from Gary Smalley, Eric & Leslie Ludy, and the Duggar Family. This book is part of our "Bright Future Series" which shares Biblical principles for families in beautiful and down-to-earth ways. The Person I Marry was awarded "2010 Book of the Year" by the Christian Small Publisher Association. We created this book the year of our 30th anniversary as a tool for tenderizing the hearts of our own 12 children, and sparking comfortable conversation about marriage amongst ourselves. It is hardcover, 32 pages, and retails for $11.99. We hope you like it!
Since the moment we knew we were expecting each one of our children we have prayed for their future spouses. Over the years we have encouraged our children to pray for their future spouse and to ask the Lord reveal to them who their chosen mate would some day be.  Words such as...

Full of Integrity

... resound in our every conversation with them as to the character we pray they will seek in the special loved one God has chosen for them.  Our hope is that we as husband and wife have done our best to model all of these qualities.  Now, to encourage our children even further, The Bower's have given us a beautifully written and illustrated book for our children to read and understand the wonderful character traits to look for in a mate. 

I just have to say,I love this sweet book.  I am thoroughly impressed with the absolutely stunning paintings by Jan Bower.  Her gift of bringing to life the sweetness of a child through soft and colorful paintings brought a song to my heart.  As I read it to my daughter I am so aware of the beauty she sees in the blessing of the person she will marry.  When you add the gentleness and the wisdom of Gary's writing about what to desire in a spouse, it is an overwhelming joy to share this gift with her. 

Perfect as a gift for a newly wed couple, a family with young children, or a young girl on her birthday.  It has such beautiful gift book, that it would be an absolute treasure of a gift to give to a young lady who is waiting on the man God destined for her to live the rest of her life with.

This book is a simple lesson in the qualities that we should possess, as well.  I have found in reading it that it encourages these character qualities that I want my children to live out in their lives.  My son has come to me as I have been writing.  I first thought it might seem too childish to him, but once he saw the pictures and I told him what the book was about his interest peeked and I told him I would read it to him. 

A Great Wedding Gift for the Happy Couple
(Give an adorable book instead of a card that will be thrown away!)

An Amazing Character-Building Tool for Kids!
(Remind your children that the INSIDE matters more than the outside!)

An Excellent Conversation-Starter with Teens!
(Discuss important topics in a NON-THREATENING way!)

To purchase your own copy or a copy for a loved one you can visit Bower Books

for a very reasonable
Respect, kindness, honesty, faithfulness, thoughtfulness, patience - qualities like these make strong marriages. Created by award-winning author & illustrator team Gary & Jan Bower (married 32 years), this adorable book warms the hearts of all ages in its celebration of commitment, purity & true love!  ~ Hardcover * 32 Pages ~Beautifully Illustrated

Other books in this Bright Future Book Series are What Do Heroes Wear?, There's A Party in Heaven, and The Jingle in My Pocket

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge
 for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE


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2011 Gratitude Challenge Day 7

Today I am thankFul for sweet conversations between my children. It happened several different times today and it made my heart sing. There is such a peace as a mother to see and hear your children caring for and enjoying one another. From My Heart To Yours, Mindy Brasher
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Ooka Island - TOS Review

Review Day,Review Day!!!


Today I am sharing with you a fun Online reading program for your PreK through 2nd grade student learning to read

Come and find adventure on Ooka Island where you journey through the Cave of Sounds, Skateboard down a mountain and climb backup the Alphabet mountain, make cakes for the elves, ride a sea-doo, search for the seashell words and much more. 

Ooka Island is a fun, online adventure game full of color, fun music and lots of encouragement.  An Early Reading Program that is a complete reading curriculum, it is downloadable straight to your computer, for your PreK to 2nd grader.  NOTE:  This is a very large program and will take a long time to download depending on your internet speed/access.  We have fast internet and computer and the download time was 3 1/2 hours.

Once our download was complete set-up was easy.  I set up the account under my name then the password is a picture button of your choosing.  This makes it so easy for your child to login everytime without having to type a password. You are then taken to the avatar/game character creating screen. 

Once in the program your child is guided by Zobot the Robot to each level of learning.  My daughter was taken through many levels of letter sound recognition games.  Each level built on top of another adding a new sound/sound combination to what she had already learned.  Some of her favortie games are climbing Alphabet Mountain, finding the sound with a maginifying glass and Seashell sentences adn words.  She seemed to really enjoy the pace at which these allowed her to work and learn, without any delays. 

Her goal is to venture through 5 or 6 different games reinforcing the letter sounds/sound combinations she is praticing to gain a new underwater treasure - a new book.  These books are stories of the adventures of Kayla and Jayden, with each book including the new and old letter sounds learned so far.

Her books are stored in the Popcorn Library where, once a book is found, the narrators read the book aloud to her a couple of times with a picture comprehension test at the end of the first reading and a Seashell sentence/word test at the end of the second. 

Play with Purpose

There were times I found her a bit frustrated with the slowness of the progression of the actual games.  There seemed to be too much lag time for her watching the mine car or sea-doo, for example, get from one sound/letter to another.    She has enjoyed the learning part of the game but told me she found parts to be boring.  

The narrators voices are very easy to understand and full of encouragment.  Other rewards at the end of the games are stickers and points for successfully completing the levels and a short free play time.  She is able purchase fun things at the Mist Mart with her money to add to her treehouse for free play.  I was pleased with the games and the way they approach introducing recognition of the sounds then matching it with the letter and exposing her to those sounds through reading the books.  I felt like she was learning a lot from them and the encouragement was expressed in a fun, upbeat manner. 

Some of the issues that I had with the program was

  • The game locked up a couple of times (not unusual for computer driven games from time to time) where we had to exit and restart the game
  • The progression of the games was too slow for my daughter and as I watched I tended to agree with her.  Since they were a bit slow this made getting to the end of the 5 or 6 games needed to complete the level, gain the rewards and get to free-time play. 
  • The free-time play does not seem to be long enough.  Again my daughter felt frustrated working against the clock (a beachball timer).
  • In our experience, if you exit a level before it is complete, when you get back into the game you have to start from the beginning.  You also could not access the map independent from the levels.  The only time you could go to the map was during free time. 
The books that are read to your child online are available for purchase from the Ooka Island Store grouped together based on learning level.  You can find them HERE.

I think your up-and-coming reader can really benefit from such a fun and colorful reading program.  You can find out more about the Ooka Island HERE and  purchase your own membership to Ooka Island HERE

Ooka Island Pricing

You can use this Exclusive Launch Special Promo code to get an even greater deal!

Ooka Island Inc. is an educational company that offers online, independent, reading curriculum for children in Pre-K to 2ndGrade. Ooka Island is for the 21st Century early learner on both the PC and Mac and effectively combines entertaining gaming theory with scientifically proven reading methods. OokaIsland is based on the literacy methods and research of its Founder, Dr. Kay MacPhee. MacPhee's initial literacy intervention program was rated #1 in Reading Comprehension by the US Department of Education in 2008.

Features Unique to Ooka Island:

An online, independent, reading curriculum that blends print concepts, phonemic awareness, phonics and language based reading.  The Ooka Island Adventure ends with children reading at a 2.0 reading level.

85 leveled and sequenced Ooka Island books digitally embedded online.  These books are also available in print to supplement the Ooka Island Adventure.

Progress reports and detailed dashboards available in real-time

Since the Ooka Island Adventure is connected online, the administrative, district, school, classroom and parent level can monitor every click of the mouse.

Adaptive learning.  Each child goes through a unique learning path embedded with learning algorithms that guide the child through MacPhee’s reading matrix in the most effective way.

Currently available in English

The Ooka Island Adventure can be translated into any other phonetically based language.

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE

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GratitudeChallenge Day 6 We Are Home

My Gratitude is for a Wonderful celebration in our family today. Long story short, 

We were homeless, 

Church-Homeless that is, 

for a couple of years. Today, after a long time waiting on the Lord and searching, the Lord brought us home. We joined our Home-Church tonight. We covenanted to support, love and care for our new family and share the message of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world. What a blessing! What a journey the Lord has brought us on learning to trust Him while we cried out "where do we belong, Father?" I can not tell you how thankful I am for a new journey ahead of us serving the Lord. He has great things planned for our family and I can hardly contain my excitement. The Lord is faithful and we will continue to lean on and rely on Him completely. 

From My Heart to Yours, 

Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Join Brenda Emmett's Gratitude Challenge at Garden of Learning
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2011 Gratitude Challenge Day 5

Today I am thankful for a great day at The Alabama Open karate tournament with my Nicholas. He overcame his nervousness and won 1st Place in his Bo Kata/Kobudo and 2nd Place in Sparring/Kumite. What a gift to watch him pursue, diligently, something he really enjoys and excels at. I am so proud of my young man. Mindy B Join Brenda Emmett's Gratitude Challenge at Garden of Learning
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2011 Gratitude Challenge Day 4

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with GRATITUDE in your hearts to God.
-Colossians 3:16

My Gratitude to the Lord is full today...

  • My husband coming home safely
  • God's protection of my Anna when she broken a window with a beautifully executed karate kick
  • Date night shows with Chris and more to come this weekend. Yipee!
  • Quiet time to reconnect with My Love
  • Roman and Greek Duct-tape weapons and helmets making with my boys

From My Heart to Yours,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

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Memoria Press: Classical Phonics/First Start Reading - TOS Review


and today I am sharing with you

Classical Phonics/First Start Reading
the WORD for the day is...

ease [ eez ] 1.lack of difficulty: lack of difficulty in doing or achieving something

2.lack of awkwardness: lack of awkwardness, stiffness, or self-consciousness

3.comfort and affluence: a comfortable and leisured state free from worries, problems, and restrictions, especially those affecting somebody's financial situation

Many years ago when Cameron (13) was learning to read I used the then well-know phonics program.  You know the one with tapes, flash cards, books, more flash cards, and more tapes.  Needless, to say the whole process was not a fit for my active and "I-want-to-learn-without-making-mistakes-and-doing-it-once" kind of child.  All of the steps seemed to frustrate him and make him not want to learn to read if it meant so much work.  He was 4 years old. 

I am here to tell you that if we had had Classical Phonics and the First Start Reading workbooks my sweet boy and I would not have ended up in puddles of upset and irritation. 

Here is what we received from Memoria Press
  • 1 Classical Phonics Book
  • 3 First Start Reading Books A-C
  • Teachers Guide 

I began Anna(5) with the First Start Reading Workbooks A & B.  She has been working through those quite easily and always has a smile by the end of our lesson.  Each lesson she learns a new word combination or sound, practices writing and reading them, then, most days, is 'rewarded' by being asked to draw a Picture to correspond with the lesson.  Book A has been quite easy for her because she already knew her letters so well. It has been great for her to have the daily writing lessons to improve her writing skills.  She has been so proud of herself for the new sentences she is learning to read and write.  I have been impressed with the ease that lessons are presented to her.  

We then have supplemented with the Classical Phonics: A Child's Guide to Word Mastery book to enhance the practice she needs with each lessons from First Start Reading.  Filled with phonics and site words, when she is able to read the list of words on each page she has mastered the words and is able to move on to the next page. 

The wonderful Teacher's Guide is step-by-step instructions to teaching your child each lesson.  The TG tells you when to instruct your child, when to have your child sound out the letter or word, etc.  For this momma who LOVES to have everything all laid out to simplify her life, I have really appreciated the hard work Cheryl Lowe put into the Teacher's guide to allow me to just teach my little her phonics lesson without having to spend so much planning time before.

To Purchase your own First Start Reading program for your little one:

First Start Reading $29.95

Books A, B, C, & Teacher Guide
First Start Reading Student Set $21.00
Books A, B, C
Sample Pages BOOK A
Sample Pages BOOK B

"First Start Reading covers consonants, short vowels, 45 common words, and manuscript printing, accompanied by artist-drawn coloring pictures and drawing pages for every letter. Your child will begin reading in the very first lesson as he progresses through three student books and twentyfive phonetic stories, such as "Hogs and Pigs" and "Jog to the Jet." A Teacher Manual guides you through the program and provides helpful assessments and teaching tips.

Is there really a need for another phonics program? Well, we thought so! The first reading and printing lessons are critical, and although there are many adequate programs out there, we could not find one with the right combination we were looking for–a balanced, age-appropriate approach to phonics and reading and a serious focus on correct pencil grip and letter formation. In addition, many phonics programs today use the ladder approach (consonant vowel blending), which is fine, but we prefer the more traditional (vowel-consonant) approach combined with word families. And one more thing, mastery of the short vowels is the sine qua non of phonics programs, and few programs really give adequate practice in this very important skill. First Start Reading solved all of our little problems and made us happy. We hope you like it too."

Classical Phonics: A Child's Guide to Word Mastery $14.95
Cheryl Lowe
(based on Florence Akin's Word Mastery)
Sample Pages

"Classical Phonics is a deceptively simple little book our teachers and families use constantly in both Kindergarten and first grade. It consists of phonetically-arranged word lists for students to practice their growing phonics skills. In a word list there are no context clues, so the learner must rely on his mastery of letter sounds. For instance, if your child can pronounce each word in this list correctly – pot, pat, pit, put, pet – he knows his short vowel sounds, and you can move on to long vowels! If not, he needs more practice, and Classical Phonics is the most effective tool I know of to address the repetition that young ones need when learning to read. Classical Phonics can be used as a supplement to any phonics program and covers nearly all English phonograms and sounds taught through second grade. Classical Phonics is your handy tool for phonics practice and for building confident readers. *A must-have supplement for First Start Reading! "
I think you are really going to enjoy this phonics program.  It is so reasonably priced and easy to use you are going to be so thankful for Memoria Press and Classical Phonics and First Start Reading Program.  Enjoy!

You can find even more curriculums and studies from Memoria Press HERE.
"Memoria Press is a family-run publishing company that produces simple and easy to use classical Christian education materials for home and private schools. It was founded by Cheryl Lowe in 1994 to help promote and transmit the classical heritage of the Christian West through an emphasis on the liberal arts and the great works of the Western tradition. Memoria Press is currently developing a K-12 classical curriculum at Highlands Latin School in Louisville, Kentucky, where its popular Latin, logic, and classical studies courses are developed and field-tested."
From My Heart to YOurs,
Mindy B.
Revelation 12:11

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge for the purposes of sharing my honest opinion and review.

You can read more Reviews from my Crew Mates at The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew HERE

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Searching for Style November 3, 2011

Boho Chic

I would probably NEVER buy this purse at this price but it's cute all the same.  I am not much of an accesories kind of girl anyway.  All but the purse is the extent of my style.  Finding my way in the Fashion world...

Mindy B.
Old Navy crinkle top
$20 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy two tone jeans
$35 - oldnavy.gap.com

Rockport arch shoes
$64 - zappos.com

Lucky Brand crossbody bag
$89 - zappos.com

Chain jewelry
€19 - shopfriiscompany.com

Old Navy stretch jewelry
$5 - oldnavy.gap.com

FOSSIL floral belt
$36 - zappos.com
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