Category Archives: Reviews

Beginner Readers

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I have been searching for beginner readers that are REAL beginner readers.  What do I mean? Well, the Oxford Reading Tree books that are used by most schools are good but I find that Lady P is still not getting it because they make things too complicated and colourful.  

‘But I thought colour was good!’ You may say!  And you are right,for most kids!  But Lady P is very easily distracted…by everything!!! Including pictures that have loads going on! 

I once read somewhere, by another homeschooling mum, that she had to switch reading programmes for each of her children because they all had a different way of learning.  Lady P is a very active child and struggles to focus for any amount of time.  I finally found a programme that works for her.  Besides doing the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons programme (which she enjoys), we are reading the BOB books every night before bed.

  
I bought Set 1, which go through the alphabet in a step by step fashion, starting with 3 consonants and a vowel and adding letters in each book.  Set 1 starts with simple CVC words and only 5 sight words.  The pictures are mostly in black and white with 1 colour added, making them simple and non-distracting.  Lady P was so excited when she read her first story all by herself! What a confidence builder!

I recommend these books for children who are struggling to put the pieces together.  For instance, lady P knew her letter sounds, knew what words started with but couldn’t quite put it together to read whole words. Once she gains some fluency, I’ll let her try the Oxford Reading Tree books again.

I may even purchase the pre reading books for Cheeky Girl to start on. 

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Toucan Box- Quality Time. Delivered.

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I ordered a free Toucan Box  promotional petite craft box for Lady P and I was a bit judgmental at first.  I thought it wasn’t very inspiring but was pleasantly surprised at how much my girls enjoyed the project.  They had to create an old pirate map and a parrot.  The small pack included everything I needed (including a teabag to make the map look old) and we did our project!  

Afterwards, Lady P wanted to continue with the fun so we made hooks for our hands (an extension activity it recommends) and I hid treasure in the house for them to find! It was a nice little project!  I’d continue to get them but I’m still deciding if I want to spend the money each month! 

   

 

Amazing App for Homeschoolers

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I recently downloaded OneNote for my iPad and it’s amazing!  I can plan my year by making curriculum checklists; document the progress of each of my children using pictures and notes; and even separate everything by subject!  It’s really handy if you struggle to get organised!

  

I will also be able to add tabs so I can do next year’s planning for each of my children when the time comes, and I won’t have to delete this year’s information.  This will be a great tool for parents who have to show their child’s progress to educational authorities as its all documented!  I highly recommend this app!

Spielgaben 101

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Hello all!

I’m so excited to share the new educational toy that I purchased (thanks to my extremely generous parents!).  Spielgaben is an amazing educational experience and I highly recommend it!  It is quite pricy (around £200) but it’s well worth it as you get 8-12 years of activities and a whole curriculum dedicated to the Spielgaben toy!

 

Picture taken from Spielgaben website

Picture taken from Spielgaben website

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Before Five In A Row (BFIAR)

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Hello all!  I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about homeschooling over the last year and I’m finding that many I read (usually by American homeschooling mamas) use the literacy programme called Five In A Row.  The premise is that you read the same story (usually classic children’s stories) five days in a row, followed by different activities that cover literacy, maths, science etc. Now to buy the book from the website is EXTREMELY pricey (if you live in the U.K.) so I went on Amazon and bought Before Five In A Row  second-hand for a quarter of the price.  I bought many of the listed books from Amazon for 1p and there are tonnes of blogs who allow you to download free lapbook templates for each of the books.

BFIAR is designed for preschool children (approx age 2-4) and I’m using many of the activities with my 3 year old.  You just have to simplify some of the activities.  I will probably do this again next year when she can do all of the activities.

The first book we are studying is Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom.  It is a very cute book that has a lovely rhyme.  Lady P really enjoys the book.  To start with, I downloaded a Jesse Bear lapbook from Homeschool Share as well as letter of the week pdf to add to the lapbook from Homeschool Share as well.  Awesome resources, by the way, especially for toddlers!  Lady P loved the activities but didn’t want to glue down the items because she wanted to do it again!

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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

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Children’s books are plentiful in bookstores across the nation but which ones do we choose? Usually I pick up a lot of books from second-hand shops or from the local library but this summer, when I went to Canada on holiday, I picked up Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Classic Board Books) written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. This book is amazing and really teaches children their alphabet in a playful way through rhyme and bright pictures. Lady P loves this book and can recite most of the story!

The story is about all the letters of the alphabet who want to race to the top of a coconut tree but ‘Chicka chicka boom boom, will there be enough room?’

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There are several websites that produce activities based on this story. For instance, Making Learning Fun has several activities that are great to use. Lapbooks by Carisa also do lapbooks for this story that you can download for free. I also like to show my girls the discovery video from SchoolTube which retells the story with a catchy tune (but be warned, you WILL hum it constantly!)

Baby S can’t keep still to actually listen to the story but she loves looking at the pictures on her own and likes the video!

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Overall, I think Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is great for teaching the alphabet and getting children interested in reading. Older children will LOVE reading it to younger siblings! A must have for any homeschooling family or anyone who loves reading with their child! Enjoy!

ABCs

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Lady P is showing a genuine keenness for learning! She loves practising her writing! I recently bought ABC’s Write and Wipe!: Lowercase Letters [With Pen] (Kumon Flash Cards)She loves using them with dry wipe pens and especially enjoys using a baby wipe to clean the cards afterwards.

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These cards are great value for money. They are quite large, which is great for little hands that don’t have the fine motor skills yet to make small letters. On one side is a green picture with the word; on the other side is the traceable letter (this set is lower case). Usually, she will look at the picture, say the word then flip it over and write the letter. I usually help her by saying the sound of the letter which she repeats.

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This pack also comes with five additional cards that have smaller pictures on one side and traceable letters on the other.

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Overall, I give this product two thumbs up as they are a quality item which my daughter loves using!