Spelling You See – Review

I am a bad speller. There is no easy way to explain how spelling and the millions of rules frustrate me. I could pass most spelling tests with out a problem, but a week later I wouldn’t be able to spell any of the words. I still struggle horribly as an adult. Unfortunately, AJ is just as bad of a speller as I am. We have tried quite a few different ways of working on spelling. We tried memorizing lists, playing games, and copy work. Each thing helped a little bit, but she needed more.

Spelling You See - A program my child enjoys and is learning from!

Thankfully we were given the chance to review a new product from Spelling You See, Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements Level F. We received the Student Workbook Part 1, Student Workbook Part 2, the Instructor’s Handbook, and a package of erasable colored pencils. We were excited to get started.

What is Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements?

Ancient Achievements is level F in the series and is the last book for kids who are in the “skill development stage” of spelling. Spelling You See takes a completely different approach than most spelling programs. There are no lists of words to memorize, and there are no tests. Spelling You See isn’t based on grade or age level, it is based on spelling ability. I highly recommend reading all about Spelling You See’s Spelling Philosophy. I found it very eye opening and thought that it explained exactly why both AJ and I have such difficulty with spelling.

If there are no spelling lists, how does it work?

On the first day of the week your student reads a passage. Ancient Achievements has selections about all kinds of different things from Ancient History. Some of the passages AJ has worked on include; cave paintings, cuneiform, and mummies.

After reading the passage the student goes through and chunks parts of the words by boxing them in with an assigned color. AJ used the colored pencils that came with the program, but you could also use highlighters.  On each page the types of chunks they need to look for are listed. In the beginning of the book it starts with just vowel chunks, then it goes onto consonant chunks. Further into the book they are introduced to bossy r chunks, ending chunks, silent letters, and the tricky Y guy.

By chunking the words, kids can see how they are spelled. Spelling You See.

This is one of the pages where she was working on vowel and constant chunks.

After reading and chunking the passage your student then copies a portion of the passage and chunks it. The copying portion is limited to 10 minutes.

They continue with the same routine on the same passage for the first three days of the week. Day three has an additional feature called Spotlight. In this section a little bit more about words is explained. In the teacher’s guide there are optional activities to practice the topic that the Spotlight is focusing on. Some of the topics we have come across so far are; rhyming words, root words, and different Latin root meanings.

On day 4 they read and chunk the passage, but instead of copying it, they write it from dictation. On day four you are able to help them if needed. After 10 minutes the dictation is stopped and they count how many words they got right.

Spelling You See - The perfect program for my struggling speller!

Dictation from Spelling You See

Day 5 is similar to day 4 except this time you don’t help at all with the dictation. The next week they move onto a different passage and the process begins again.

The teacher’s guide is necessary for the program. It has the passages for dictation, the correct chunking patterns, and ideas for the Spotlight section.

How did we use it?

We do school four days a week, so I was a little bit unsure of how to work the program. We decided to start in the middle of the week and just did the next day’s work each day. It worked out really well.

On the first day I read the passage to AJ and then she read it to me. We took it line by line and she chunked the passage as we went. I had the teacher’s guide open so that I could make sure she found all of the words that needed to be chunked. Then I set the timer and had her copy the passage. I was expecting a fight since she hates to write, but it went very well. Our biggest issue was that after the 10 minutes was up, she wasn’t finished writing. She didn’t like leaving the page partway unfinished so she finished it anyways.

Chunking with Spelling You See - Helpful for the visual learner!

After the first week we decided to get rid of the timer and just let her work until she was finished. Most days it took her about fifteen minutes to finish copying everything.

The second and third day she did mainly on her own other than reading the passage to me. The first day of dictation was the most difficult for AJ, because of one rule, no erasing. The student isn’t aloud to erase during the dictation, instead they are to cross off the word that is spelled wrong. It took a little bit to get use to, but now she knows she can’t erase. On the 5th day I would dictate the passage to her again and she would see if she could get more words correct on the second dictation.

What do we think?

When the books came in the mail I was sure that I would love the program. I wasn’t expecting AJ to love it too! She completes the spelling each day without an issue, but the best part is that I am seeing the skills transfer over to her other writing. When she is writing a word and needs me to spell it she often asks if it has any chunks in it. I have also noticed that she is remembering the words she is working on each week . The other day she was working on history and remembered how to spell archeologist, and that was a word she wrote a few weeks ago!

The only thing we didn’t like was the amount of room given to copy the passage. AJ has large handwriting and found it difficult to fit all of the words on the line. Surprisingly, after the first week, she started writing smaller and was able to fit everything in.

Overall she enjoys it, she is learning from it, and it is helping her to become more confidant. She enjoys the passages, and most of all enjoys the chunking. To her trying to find all of the chunks was like a puzzle. This is a program that I plan to stick with. I would recommend Spelling You See to anyone who has a child who is struggling with spelling, for us it is the perfect fit!

Spelling You See Review
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Free Fun With Words Packet

Free Fun With Words Packet - 10 activities to focus on spelling and critical thinking skills

Don’t you just love Spring? The weather is nicer, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. I put together this Fun with Words packet that is all about Spring. It contains 10 different activities all focused around a set of 20 spring words. Some of the activities are designed to help with spelling, others help with vocabulary, and a few help with critical thinking skills. To get your free packet, subscribe to our News Letter. In the News Letter you will receive our latest posts, deals, giveaways and freebies. Sign up below!

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First Day of 6th Grade

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I can’t believe that AJ is in 6th grade this year. She has grown so much over the last few years and I am excited to start the new year. My favorite year of school was 6th grade, I had an amazing teacher and learned so much. If she was going to public school, AJ would be in middle school this year. The school she would go to is the same one I went to for the first part of 7th grade,(I was lucky enough to be accepted to a prep school after the first quarter) and it was a rough place way back then. I am so glad she will not have to go to that school!

AJ started the morning off with a shower and then got to work on her chores. She has to make her bed, get dressed, put dishes away, bring up the trash cans, feed the dog, and help make sure everything of hers is put away .

For her first day of school I got up early and made a good breakfast. We had homemade biscuits, eggs, bacon, a banana, and orange juice. It was a good start to the day.

Breakfast was just the two of us, and then I woke up Grandma and got her dressed while AJ started on her Language Arts book.
We had a few minutes before we had to leave so I reviewed fraction operations with AJ and made sure she understood how to do all of her grammar.
Then we took Grandma to her doctor appointment. Usually her appointments are quick, but today it took forever. AJ was suppose to finish her grammar and math work while she was in the waiting room, but she didn’t. She watched the tv in the waiting room instead. She wasn’t too happy when she found out that she would have to work on her math and grammar during her free time, but hopefully she will do her work next time.
When we finally got back home we had a quick lunch and then she started on literature.  I created a literature study for the book she is reading, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. She started by looking up vocabulary and then she read the first 2 chapters. So far she is enjoying the book.
After literature she should have had free time while I went to the dentist, but she had to do her grammar and math. The dentist should have been a quick trip, just two simple fillings, but it took almost 2 hours.
On the way home from the dentist I stopped by my favorite store, Fresh and Easy. I love this store! The prices are great, and the food is fresh. The best part is that I am able to find so many things that are corn free.
I went back home expecting to find AJ, but she was mistakenly taken to gymnastics. During the summer she went to gymnastics everyday, but now that summer is over she goes back to her normal days. Having her gone for those 2 hours really messed up my schedule because we were going to work on science.
When she got home we worked on her Bible curriculum and then had dinner. After our busy day I decided to skip science and work on it another time.
Our day was long and we didn’t accomplish everything, but we will make it up later in the week. I think overall it was a good first day.
How did your day go?

A Day in Our Homeschool

Reading Eggspress Review

Reading has been a difficult subject in our homeschool. I love to read and if I had more time I would more than likely spend it reading. AJ on the other hand has a strong dislike when it comes to reading. Ever since she was in second grade and was no longer “aloud” to sound out words, we have had a problem with reading. She likes to read easy books that are way below her reading level, but give her a long passage with no pictures and she will do one of two things. She will either pretend to read and then not be able to answer any questions, or she will take forever and by the time she is done she forgets half of what she reads. This year she is finally realizing that reading can be fun and she has started to even enjoy reading at times, but I was looking for something extra to help focus on her reading skills. Then we were given the opportunity to review Reading Eggs. At first I almost passed up the opportunity because I thought it was just for the younger set, but I was wrong. They have an entire section for kids ages 7 to 13 to help with reading and comprehension called Reading Eggspress.

Find out more about Reading Eggs:

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Here is a little more about Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress:

Reading Eggs

Full of educationally sound, fun and interactive activities, Reading Eggs focuses on the most fundamental skill needed in school – reading. Children from 3 –7 years or older children struggling with reading will enjoy the huge variety of reading lessons, activities and games that make up the Reading Eggs program.

In addition to the 120 reading lessons in Reading Eggs there is the Reading Eggs World which caters for children who already know the basics of reading but who still have much to learn about reading, writing, spelling, and comprehension. In the Reading Eggs World, children have their own house to decorate, a big shop and an avatar that can walk and travel to many new destinations on Reggie’s bus. Children are able to choose their own adventure from a wide range of activities and places to go, including the following content:
 • The Story Factory – this gives children an introduction to creative writing and they can put together stories to enter in a weekly story writing competition.

• Driving Tests – has 15 sight word tests, 15 letters and sounds test and 15 content word tests. Children are rewarded for correct completion with a driving game.

• Puzzle Park – children can access 32 word puzzles and practice sight word recognition.

• Skills Bank – holds 96 spelling lessons that take students up to the end of key stage 1.

• Storylands – this area builds reading, vocabulary and comprehension skills and is perfect for children who have begun to read but aren’t quite ready for Reading Eggspress. It currently includes 20 e-books to read.

• The Arcade – includes 24 arcade-style games to be used as rewards to motivate children to keep learning. They need to earn Golden Eggs to play these so encourages them to work through lessons and educational activities before using the arcade.

Reading Eggspress

 Reading Eggspress continues the reading adventure by taking children to a brand new world designed for 7 – 13 year olds focusing on comprehension and grammar. Reading Eggspress provides a unique learning environment where students’ can improve their English language and comprehension skills in a way that is exciting and relevant.

The Reading Eggspress program uses a spinning island which instantly engages children. They explore a complete world with a wide variety of both learning and fun experiences. The range of activities motivate students to return regularly to complete lessons, compete against others, earn more rewards and improve their skills.

The Reading Eggspress website has an enormous range of learning resources, lessons, motivational games and e-books. There are 4 areas of the Reading Eggspress World:

 • Library – the Reading Eggspress Library holds more than 1500 e-books including illustrated chapter books, full-color nonfiction books and a range of classics. Children can search for books by topic, series, author, reading age or book title. New books are added regularly.

The Comprehension Gym – children complete a placement test when they first visit the Gym which places students at the correct level for their current ability. The Gym holds 200 interactive comprehension lessons over five broad levels from years 2 to years 6 with 40 lessons per year level.

The Stadium – children compete in real time against students from around the world. The exciting head-to-head contest tests skills in one of four areas – spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar.

Apartment and Mall – children can use their golden eggs to buy avatar clothes and apartment furniture. Within the apartment all the trophies, medals and trading cards children have collected can be viewed and children can also complete a 100-level quest-style game to expand and refresh learning and earn more golden eggs.

Progress within the Reading Eggspress program is measured by the completion of targets. These are split over 4 levels and help give children some guidance and structure for learning and encourage them to use all of the above areas.

Both the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress programs have a comprehensive reporting system that tracks progress so that students and their parents can clearly see each child’s achievements.

There are currently over 2 million children using the Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress program around the world and over 90% of parents surveyed have reported a noticeable improvement in their child’s reading skills.

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress is a program that really works by making learning a fun, interactive and enjoyable experience for all involved.

How we used the Program
 

The problem I normally have with computer based learning is that AJ will spend most of her time playing with her avatar and looking at the things that she can buy rather than learning. Unfortunately that was also the case with Reading Eggspress. The times I had her go on the site independently I saw no progress. She changed her apartment and her outfits and “forgot” that she was suppose to try and earn eggs and complete lessons.

So while I would have liked her experience with the program to have been independent, that was not how it ended up working. I ended up sitting with her for every lesson. Once we got over that hurdle, our experience was a success!

Our goal each time she logged in was to complete a lesson and then complete a target mission. Missions included things like buying things, reading and reviewing books, and passing quizzes with 10 answers correct in a row. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety of the lessons and missions. When she logged in to the comprehension gym it gave her a choice of 10 different books each was a different lesson. She clicked on the one she wanted to do and followed the directions. Each lesson was broken down into a few different activities.

Here is an example of a lesson for the book The Fine Line.
Cover Story
Using the picture on the cover, you answer questions regarding what the book will be about.
Dictionary
You pick 3 vocabulary words from a list, find each one in the dictionary, and answer questions about the part of speech and correct usage in a sentence. You also practice alphabetizing.
Pictures have Feelings Too
Using pictures from the story, you answer questions about characters’ feelings.
 
Key Words
 Match vocabulary words to their definition to unlock locks.
 
Who, What, Where, and When
You practice telling the who, what, when, and where with a simple sentence. Then you answer the same questions regarding a small section of the text.
  
Reading
You read a few pages of the story.
 
Quiz
You answer 16 questions about the reading, vocabulary, and basic grammar skills
 
 
What I liked
 
I like how there are so many different skills practiced in each lesson. I like how although some of the lessons are similar, there is enough variety to keep AJ interested. I was also pleased with the fact that even though they are using the computer, they are made to look up the vocabulary words using a pretend dictionary on the screen. I feel that a lot of the questions forced AJ to read closer. Having the avatar motivated AJ to earn more eggs so that she could buy more things. The library section was full of books on numerous topics. A few times I had her search for books on topics we were learning about and almost every subject had at least one book that she could read. The best part was that AJ wanted to go on the site every day. Every morning she would say, “I need to do my Reading Eggspress.” I honestly feel that working with this program has improved her reading.
 
 

What I didn’t like

 
Although I liked the program overall, I found a few issues that I feel worth mentioning. I found the language in a few of the books very questionable. In fact in the book The Fine Line the words idiot, stupid, and jerk are all used on just the few pages that are read for the lesson. I personally don’t want my child to be reading that type of language and now wonder if I will have to preread lessons before she completes them.  I also found some of the quiz questions confusing and poorly worded. The biggest issue I had was that the way it is set up, it is quite easy for the child to just guess and not read. If they get a question wrong the same question pops up later. There is also no explanation as to why the answer is wrong so instead of learning from the mistake the child is just expected to pick the correct answer the next time.
 
 
 
While I listed a few negatives I think we will continue with the program for a while and see how it goes. Here is the good news……. you can get a FREE 5 week trial to see for yourself if the program is right for your family. Use this link www.readingeggs.com/create  to start your 5 week free trial.  While you are looking into the free trial, you can also check out the fundraiser that is going on from February 3rd to March 7th to help raise funds for The National Children’s Cancer Society.
  *NCCS will earn a minimum of $25,000 from Reading Eggs plus 100% of the donations collected by RTCC participants
 
Prices vary based on the length of your subscription. Click here to learn more about pricing options.


Read other team member reviews by clicking the graphic below.

http://homeschoolmosaics.com/giving-love-with-the-gift-of-reading-reading-eggs-review/

iTooch 5th Grade Language Arts Review



I was recently asked to review an app called iTooch created by Edupad . I had never heard of it before but decided to look it over. Edupad has apps for grades 3 and up that cover language arts, math and science. The apps are available on iOS, Windows 8, and on Android. We decided to review the 5th grade Language Arts using the app on Windows 8.

The app sells for $4.99 and on Windows 8 it comes with a free trial. (I was not given a free app for this review, I just downloaded the free trial)

5th Grade Language Arts
 
 
The language arts section covers three sections; grammar, verbs, and vocabulary /spelling. I was excited to try out the grammar because right now we do not have a full curriculum for grammar. After playing around with the app for a little while, I have to say that I am impressed. There are a lot of different topics covered.
 

Grammar

  1. Four types of sentences
  2. Subjects and predicates
  3. Punctuation
  4. Conjunctions
  5. Nouns
  6. Common and proper nouns
  7. Singular and plural nouns
  8. Possessive nouns
  9. Adjectives
  10. Articles and demonstratives
  11. Comparison
  12. Possessive pronouns
  13. Contractions with pronouns
  14. Adverbs
  15. Prepositions
  16. “That” and “Which” clauses
  17. “Whose” and “Who’s”

Verbs

  1. Main and helping verbs
  2. Action and linking verbs
  3. Direct and indirect objects
  4. Present tense
  5. Past tense
  6. Future tense
  7. Subject-Verb agreement
  8. Agreement with be and have
  9. Contractions with not
  10. Irregular verbs (1)
  11. Irregular verbs (2)
  12. The right verb

Vocabulary and Spelling

  1. SH, CH or TH?
  2. OW/OU and OY/OI
  3. J and CH sounds
  4. Silent letters
  5. Syllables
  6. Geographic adjectives
  7. Interjections
  8. Abbreviations
  9. Homophones
  10. Word families
  11. Simple/double consonants
  12. I or me? We or us?
  13. Figuratively speaking
  14. Tone or talk
  15. Laser eye
How it works

 
 
Once you select the section you want to work on, you are given questions that go along with the topic. You have the option of reading a short and informative lesson on the topic or starting right on the questions. There is a practice section and a test section. Questions come in may forms such as,  multiple choice, fill in the blank, and highlighting parts of a sentence. I really like the fact that instant feedback is given, with both the correct and incorrect answers. AJ likes that the little guy on the bottom of the screen changes based on the amount of time it takes to answer the questions and if you get the question right or wrong.
 

 
This app provides learning in a fun and exciting format. My little one actually enjoyed working on the app and that says a lot because language arts is her least liked subject. Normally I don’t purchase apps unless they are $.99 or less but I am considering purchasing this one. I feel that it would be a great supplement to our current curriculum. If you are looking for a good quality educational app that is affordable, you should check out the iTooch apps relevant to your child.
 
Check out what other reviewers had to say here.