Learning to Read: Reading Kingdom Review

Reading Kingdom

Basics:

Since my twins will be in kindergarten in August, I am always looking for ways to help prepare them for school. I was very excited to review the online reading lessons from Reading Kingdom.

Getting Started:

If you have younger children, (the program starts at 4), I would suggest skipping the assessment and starting with Level 1. The reason that I would skip the assessment is that the program has children locate letters on the keyboard, and if they don't know how to do that it could get frustrating for them.

How We Used It:

The program recommends one session per day, four times a week. Since both of my twins were on the program, I did one session for each child a day.

My twins really enjoyed the program, and would request to go on "Kingdom" to learn to read. They also liked the animated characters that would sing and make noise when they got an answer right.

Lesson Walkthrough:

Each lesson focuses on one word. In the lesson, children have to do multiple activities to show that they understand what is asked of them.

First, the focus word is introduced. Children have to know where the letters are on the keyboard and push the keys before the letter disappears.

Next, the word is shown with missing letters and children must guess which sign holds the correct word. After the sign is shown, children have to type the missing letters. I like how it helps children learn how to spell, and helps to improve their recall skills.

Another part of the lesson is the short phrases. The focus word is shown with another word, for example “a boy”, and children have to click on each word.

My twins favorite part of the lesson is when they are finding the matching word cards. The focus word is shown and spoken, then children have to find the matching word. They like the dancing character that pops up when they get it right.

When you first start the program there is an option for an assessment to see where your child is and what they need assistance with.

 

Helpful Tips:

If you are using the program with a younger child like I did, make sure that you help them find the keys on the keyboard. My 4-year old twins "missed" questions because they didn't know where the letters were.

The program does show where the letters are located on the screen, however since they were so little they couldn't transfer the information.

Overall thoughts:

I think that Reading Kingdom is a great program for older children who have more familiarity with the keyboard. I liked the way that it worked on the same word throughout the lesson, and that the words were reviewed in a later lesson.

I also liked that the program explicitly teaches phonics, and doesn't solely focus on sight words like many other programs.

There is also a program for children on the autism spectrum called ASD Reading, be sure to click on the other reviews to read about it.

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom OR ASD Reading {Reviews}
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Interactive Books for Reading: Weigl Publishers Review

My children love to read, so I love to encourage literacy of all forms. I was very excited to read the media enhanced books from Weigl Publishers.

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We received three media enhanced books,  Glaciers, A Lion's World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant from Weigl Publishers.

  • Glaciers  (3rd-6th interest range)

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This nonfiction title explains to children what glaciers are, how they are made, and facts about glaciers. This book is good for students learning about landforms, as well as when discussing text features.

This book has many diagrams, captions, and headings that you can point out to your child. I like interactive books for nonfiction titles since there are a lot of words they don't know, so the book can read it to the child.

 

  • A Lion's World (K-2 interest range)

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In this book children learn basic facts about lions. My preschoolers and first grader enjoyed reading this book. The words are simple and easy to understand with the accompanying video. Once you click on the arrow, the words are read to the child. This is a good way for children to practice reading skills.

 

  • There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant (K-2 interest range)

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This is a fiction title that it is similar to other familiar titles such as I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Spider. Most children will know this reference and be able to relate to it.

This story is set in the desert, so it would be a fun fiction book to read when talking about a desert habitat. The cowboy swallows different types of desert animals that you can discuss with your child.

My children loved the bright, colorful illustrations in this book. They also liked that the story rhymed.

Overall, my children loved the media enhanced books from Weigl Publishers. I would definitely add these stories to our homeschool curriculum, especially the nonfiction titles.

Multimedia Digital Books {Weigl Publishers Reviews}
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A+ Interactive Math: Homeschool Curriculum Review

Since I have been homeschooling my oldest two daughters for this past semester, I have noticed some learning gaps in their math skills. So I was very pleased to try the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.) to identify and address learning gaps in their math skills. The program is skill-based and covers grades 1st-6th and Pre-Algebra.

Getting Started:

Adaptive Math

Introduction:

This program requires students to take a placement test first. I chose my daughter's current grade level as their target grade level.

Then they had to take small tests for each math concept to determine their skill level. The great thing about the program is that it adjusts the question difficulty based on their answers.

What it Looks Like Inside:

The Parent Dashboard gives you an overview of the different sections of the program.

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Summary Report

The Summary Report is an overview of the grade level skills and exactly what skill level your child is working at. I was honestly surprised at the results, however you have to keep in mind that it depends on how well your child did on that particular placement test.

So if your child is not a good test-taker, or doesn't take his time, he might not score well in the beginning either. However, I don't mind making sure that my daughter reviews over math skills, because I want her to really understand what she is doing regardless of the program or curriculum she is using.

Let's look at my 3rd grader's results:  

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Lessons

The lesson overview shows the status of each lesson, as well as the date completed. My daughter usually does two or three a day for her math assignments.

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Interactive Q & A

The Interactive questions and answers are a fun way for your child to engage with their math lessons. I like when I enter the parent dashboard how I can see the percentage as well as any remarks that my daughter has for me. My oldest really enjoys using the program as you can read in her remarks below.

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Online Worksheets

There are online worksheets to practice the math skills. When you log into the parent area, you can see your child's progress on the worksheets, as well as their score.

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Overall, both of my daughters enjoy using the Adaptive Math Curriculum Online. They like the games and how the lessons are broken down into simple sections.

There is also a Family subscription available as well.

Click below to read more reviews about the A+ Interactive Math.

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Family & Adaptive Math Online {A+ Interactive Math Reviews}

Help Teaching Pro Review: Homeschool Curriculum Supplement

As a homeschooling mom, it can be difficult at times to find resources to teach your children all the subjects they want and need to learn.

That is why I was thankful to find a one-stop shop for online lessons, worksheets, and quizzes.
I have been using the Help Teaching Pro. subscription from HelpTeaching.com to supplement my homeschool science lessons.

What is Help Teaching Pro?

Help Teaching Pro is an online subscription that contains access to hundreds of lessons, worksheets, and videos for a variety of subjects.

The website is easy to use and also includes a test maker, worksheet generator, and tests and worksheets.

Features:

  • Covers all grade levels
  • Works well with multiple students
HelpTeaching

How We Used It:

Since I am always looking for ways to explain Science topics to my third grader, we focused on the Science lessons.

The lessons are separated by category, and show how much time it will take to complete, as well as the appropriate grade.

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Pros:

I like the fact that you can assign lessons to your children, which makes them more independent and responsible for their own learning.

Another benefit is that the video lessons are relatively short, and have questions that check student understanding after they watch them.

The lessons also show a related worksheet for even more practice and review.
 

Cons:

The one thing that I did not like about the online subscription is that some of the printables are in color.

Since I try to conserve ink, I like to print in black and white and colored images use more ink when printing.

Another thing that may be a con for some people, is that the amount of resources is overwhelming.

I think to properly utilize the subscription, you should plan your lessons ahead of time, so that way you won't spend too much time searching for the materials.

Favorites:

My daughter enjoyed the word search printables. There are many printable games that you could use to make your lessons more interesting.

You can also make custom word search games based off your child's spelling and vocabulary words that you are using.

Other Ways to Use the Subscription:

Since I had a multiple student subscription, I was able to take advantage of other lessons on the site.

My preschool twins liked watching the phonics and word family videos. They were good to use emphasize the spelling pattern of the week.

My first grade student was also able to gain a better understanding of language arts with the grammar lessons.

She enjoyed being able to watch the short videos before doing her grammar lessons.

Overall:

My daughter enjoyed using the lessons and worksheets for her Science lessons.

I liked the fact that I could go to one main website and find what I need for her lessons.

I think that Help Teaching Pro. subscription from HelpTeaching.com is a great complement to any homeschool curriculum.

 

Help Teaching Pro. {HelpTeaching.com Reviews}
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5 Reasons Every Toddler Should Color

This post may contain affiliate links.

Although toddlers are usually between the ages of 1-3, there are still many activities that they can do.

One fun activity for toddlers is coloring. I must admit that at first I was nervous when my children were toddlers and they used crayons for the first time. Of course, toddlers are still at that everything is food stage, so you have to be careful that they don't put the crayons in their mouth.

That is why no matter what the activity is, you should always supervise your child.

Why is toddler coloring so great? Here are 5 reasons why every toddler should color:

Benefits:

1. Exercise hand and eye coordination

2. Practice fine motor skills

3. Feel textures of different materials

4. Learn independence

5. Be creative

 

Materials:

Large Crayons

Toddler Coloring Book

 

Although you can get a coloring book from anywhere, toddler coloring books are specifically designed for toddlers.

What does that mean? The pictures are large (usually taking up the whole page), with simple designs, and easy to recognize pictures.

Toddler Coloring books are great for young children learning to color since they have a large area to work with and

I have created a Toddler Coloring Book that can be used not only as a fun activity but also as a learning tool. While your child is coloring, you can point to the pictures and name them.

My Toddler Coloring Book includes:

Uppercase letters

Lowercase letters

Numbers 1-10

Familiar Objects (such as backpack, book, etc.)

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What other activities do you like to do with your toddler? Leave a comment below.

Memoria Press Review: How to Teach Spelling in Homeschool

As I was planning my homeschool curriculum for my oldest daughter, I wanted to make sure that I had a spelling curriculum to use. I was very excited when I had the opportunity to review the Traditional Spelling II from Memoria Press.

What it is:

Traditional Spelling II - including student and teacher books, practice sheets, flashcards, and Classical Phonics.  Intended for grades 2-3

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I was not sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a complete spelling curriculum for my third grader.

How we used it:

The lessons are broke into days, so we started Day 1 on Monday, and so on. I would review the sound/spelling pattern of the week and she would complete one activity a day.

The Traditional Spelling II is intended for grades 2-3, but for my daughter most of the words were review and we could have used another set.

The set includes flashcards that go over the phonic sounds, however my daughter did not need to use them. When I was in the classroom, I routinely had to review phonics even to my third and fourth grade students, since many did not have the basics.

My favorite part of the weekly lesson was the fill-in-the blank comprehension. This page really helped my daughter to understand how to use the words that she was learning.

Additional Resources:

Traditional Spelling II includes a Teaching Manual that helps you teach spelling and phonics correctly. The Teaching Manual also includes answer keys for the student workbook assignments, as well as dictation sentences, and sentences for the spelling test on Friday. There is also a dictionary at the end of the Teaching Manual to quickly look up words that you might not know.

The curriculum also includes Spelling Practice Sheets. This thin workbook allows students to copy the spelling words in print, and later in cursive. My daughter has been learning cursive, so this was a good additional practice for her.

Overall, I enjoyed using the Traditional Spelling II curriculum. I think that if you are looking for an all in one unit, this is a good choice for a second grader or a third grader who needs extra practice.

There are many curriculum products from Memoria Press, click below to read more reviews.

Spelling, Music Appreciation & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}
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Best Preschool Learning Workbooks to Prepare for Kindergarten

This post contains affiliate links.

One problem that many parents face with their preschool homeschool curriculum is printing, running out of ink, and keeping all of the papers neat.

As an educational specialist, I decided to help parents who would prefer a physical book over printables.

I have created a series of preschool workbooks to help prepare your child for school.

Wow, I love these preschool learning workbooks for preschool homeschool curriculum. These are better than the free preschool printables for homeschool since I don't have to worry about printing!

Here are a list of preschool learning workbooks:

Letter Tracing - this book goes over uppercase and lowercase letters, and has 5 pages per letter!

 

Number Tracing-
 Practice writing numbers 0-20.

Picture Tracing-
this preschool workbook helps children practice tracing with fun pictures. There are three different levels that get more difficult as it progresses.

Alphabet Animals Coloring Book-

Practice learning the alphabet by coloring animals A-Z.

 

Toddler Coloring Book

100 large coloring pages that include shapes, colors, uppercase and lowercase letters, and objects. Simple pictures for small children.

 

If you purchase a book, please leave a review. Thanks so much!

What other preschool learning workbooks would you like to see? Leave a comment below.

How I Teach Math in My Homeschool: CTCMath Review

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

I have been looking for a complete math curriculum for my homeschool, and so I was excited to find CTCMath. CTCMath is an online math curriculum for grades K-12th.

Wow, I love this homeschool math curriculum! These math activities are perfect for homeschool curriculum!

Getting Started:

When you first get started you will add your children to the program. I added all four of my children, 1st, 3rd, and placed my twin preschoolers in the kindergarten level. Note: I think that four-year olds can start the kindergarten level to be prepared for school. I do the lessons with my twins and we usually do two each a day.

Each level has diagnostic tests that you can assign to your child to see where they are. I assigned my daughters their current grade level to see where they are now. Although they did well on the diagnostics, I still kept them in their current grade level so that they could go through each lesson.

CTCMath is very detailed, so you can see exactly what your child needs help on. So for example, my first grader needs assistance in Money. It shows that she is having difficulty adding coins, so now I know exactly what I need to work with her on.

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Major Features:

-        Kindergarten through 12th Grade

-        U.S. Curriculum

-        Flexible Grade Placement

-        Interactive (Videos & Questions)

Pros:

History

This is my favorite feature! I love clicking on the timeline and being able to see what my children have done throughout the day. The history tab allows parents to see when your child has logged in, what they viewed, and what they completed.

Emails

CTCMath sends weekly emails so that you can monitor your children’s progress. They also send certificates to your email as well. My children get motivated by the awards they receive and I can easily display their accomplishments.

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Parent Area

In the tools tab, you can browse through the lessons beforehand. It gives the option view the video or download a pdf. This is good for children who need additional practice, and you want to teach it to them.

Checklists

You can download checklists for each grade level that shows the topics of each lessons. I can put the date that we completed the lesson, as well as their grade.

Easy to Use

My children had no problem logging in to CTCMath. The lessons are short and are helpful video explanations. After each video, there are questions to check understanding.

Cons:

I like that the lessons are flexible and can go in any order, however I wish that I could lock them and place in the order that we are teaching. My oldest likes to choose her lessons and always starts with the easiest first.

Overall:

I think CTCMath is great for all children, even those who are not homeschooled. It helps children understand math, and is like a personal tutor.

Children get better at math with practice, and CTCMath gives children that confidence in the comfort of their own home at their own pace. I also think that you could complete two grade levels in one year. Even if your child does attend traditional school, he will have a head start because the material will not be new to him. If your child ever needs assistance, there is a feature that allows you to reset the assignment and complete it again.

I also like how you can switch grade levels, so whether your child needs review or is advanced, they can work at their needs.

My children actually ask to do their math because of CTCMath. I am happy that I can now focus on Math as much as Reading.

We will definitely continue to use CTCMath throughout my children’s school career. Especially as a mom of four, since I’m teaching three different grade levels I need all the assistance I can. CTCMath acts as my math helper and assists my children until we can go over it together.

Book Review: If You Were Me and Lived In...Series

This post contains affiliate links.


Children's books like those written by Carole P. Roman can be such a fun way to explore history, or culture or even practice reading.  We received 3 books from the Carole P. Roman books anD collections to add to our home library.

The three books that we received are in the If You Were Me and Lived In series. This 23 book series focuses on children who live in different countries. It is a great introduction to culture around the world.

There are many titles in the series so they would be a great complement to any country study. I liked this series because it is an easy way to introduce your child to another culture in a simple to read book.

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Major Features:

  • Simple to Read
  • Colorful Illustrations
  • Language Pronunciations

Each of the books have a very similar format, but I will point out the details of each book.

If You Were Me and Lived in France

My oldest daughters like learning about France, so they were very excited to read this book. This book talks about how Paris got its nickname as the City of Lights. I also like how it tells common names that children might have, because your own children can relate to it.

If You Were Me and Lived in Australia

In this book, it describes life in Australia. Children learn about the history of Australia and that it is a continent and not in country. We also learned the full name of Australia, which I personally did not even know!

If You Were Me and Lived in Egypt

My daughter enjoyed this book since she has a friend who speaks Arabic and was familiar with some of the language used. In this book, children learn about the pyramids, and daily life in Egypt.

Overall, all of my children enjoyed reading their books. After reading these books, you can have your child focus on the country of their choice to learn more about the culture. For art, have your child create their own scene to go along with the story.

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Would you like to check out more reviews about the Carole P. Roman's Books & Collections? You can go to the Review Crew Blog and read more here

Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}
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Zirrly Super Beads Jungle Animals Review

Since I've been homeschooling my first and third grader, I've been looking for fun ways to keep them engaged. We've been trying to do more arts & crafts so we were thrilled to try Super Beads from Zirrly

We received the pack of Super Beads Jungle Animals.        

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Getting Started:

The box comes with the directions, project templates, trays, organizer, spray bottle, tool, and beads for your project.    

What makes Super Beads different is that all you need is water to fuse the beads together, instead of using an iron.

In our kit we had multiple templates. My children chose to complete the lion, rhino, zebra, and owl. The lion was actually a two-part template so I had to place the trays next to each other.

Activity:

Since the beads are small, I recommend parental supervision for children.

I allowed all my children to participate, so we had twin 4-year olds, a 7, and 8-year old completing the crafts.

First, place the template underneath the tray. I would tape the template to the tray so when your child lifts up the tray it doesn’t move and destroy the pattern.

For some reason my children kept wanting to compare their project to the template, so they kept lifting up the tray.

Next, the templates are color-coded so it makes it very easy to complete the pattern.

However, keep in mind that in order to make the project the beads have to be placed on correctly. Although this craft is meant for older children, my 7-year old who is very meticulous had no problem and was finished first.

Things to Look Out For:

The colors of the beads may get on your child’s hands as they are doing the activity. It’s not a big deal and comes off easily once they wash their hands. We washed our hands with soap and water after we finished.

My children also noticed the strong glue smell coming from the beads. We did the activity outside but I did also notice the smell as well.

When opening the beads, pour them into the organizer. The organizer is great because it has sections to pick the beads up easily.

Once you finish the project after it dries, you can either keep it in the tray and put it on display or take it out.

We took them out, and all of them came out successful except one. The beads take longer to dry than listed, and you have to make sure that you put the beads in correctly.

I think the better option is to keep them in the tray as a decoration, in case they come apart so that way you don't have beads all over the place.

Overall:

Super Beads are great for children that are patient, because they do take time to finish the project. It took my children about 30-45 minutes to finish their projects.

I think that after you do the activity once, it will get easier because you know what to do so that they will come out correctly.

My Children’s Take:

“I liked the art that I made!”

Superbeads are fun, they are really a great craft.”

 

My 4-year old twins did the lion and rhino and added their own creative touches!

My 7 and 8-year olds felt their animals needed grass at the bottom.

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Here's the completed owl, it looks just like the template!

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Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}
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