Friday, February 24, 2017

Light Up New York by Natalie Grant

This is a Faithgirlz title, the 4th and final book in Award winning singer Natalie Grant's Glimmer Girls series.
Join twins Mia and Maddie and their sidekick little sister, Lulu, as they travel the country finding adventure, mystery, and sometimes mischief along the way. Together with their famous mother, singer Gloria Glimmer, and their slightly wacky nanny Miss Julia, the sisters learn lessons about being good friends, telling the truth, and a whole lot more.
In this fourth book in the Faithgirlz Glimmer Girls series, the Glimmer family is headed to the Big Apple—New York City! Gloria has been asked to perform a concert in Times Square and the whole family joins her. Miss Julia immediately starts planning a sightseeing trip for the sisters that will be better than all the rest, but plans never turn out exactly as they imagine when the Glimmer girls are involved. So what happens when sibling rivalry, random acts of kindness, and a little mystery all meet up at some of the most famous sights in New York City?
The Glimmer girls go to New York for Light Up New York, an event to help homeless teens. Maddie and Mia make an album  and are also on TV in support of the Light Up New York event while they are there.   The girls work together with their nanny Miss Julia and their sister LuLu to solve the  mystery of  "the snow angel."  They work through sibling rivalry, learn patience, and honesty on their New York trip. The black and white illustrations add nicely to the story.

I was so excited to get  Light Up New York! I enjoyed book number 3 and my my 11 year old daughter had been asking when the next one came out for months. Within 24 hours of the book being in our home my daughter  had the book in her hands and completed reading it.   She absolutely loved the story!   I was thrilled that she was reading something where the characters in the story  were kind to each other and worked out their problems in a civil way.   The parents are respected by their daughters, caring and enjoy their family.  That was refreshing.  I recommend this book.
I received the book from BookLook Blogger. All opinions are my own.

Friday, February 17, 2017

National Random Acts of Kindness Day Today!

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” 

– Leo Buscaglia

I know there are many of these days that crop up, but this seems worthy of remembering.

Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Writing Boxes by Guest Blogger Lisa McAfee

My good friend Lisa McAfee is our February guest  blogger.  She is sharing with us today  about Writing Boxes.  Lisa has many wonderful ideas and loves to help other home educators. 

Writing Boxes
Have you heard this comment before? "I can't think of anything to write!" I can empathize with our students because sometimes I have the same thing happen to me. Soooo, how do you help your child to come up with ideas?  
I saw the phrase writing box that was advertising stationary and pens inside a decorative box, but those words gave me an idea of what could be done for story writing. My thought was to find two or three items to put into a small box that your son or daughter would open.  Who doesn't like the idea of lifting the lid on a box and discovering the contents that are held inside? These items provide the prompts to create a story without you having to rack your brain to come up with an interesting sentence writing prompt. Let me give you some ideas of what these boxes could have in them.
Writing Box 1 The items inside the writing box are: a storybook, a toy, and a small unlit candle. A story that is just waiting to be told could be about a child (let's say Tillie) who is reading a book. While she is doing so, the toy that is sitting on the Tillie's lap comes alive and jumps into the book! Later it is discovered that the toy has taken the candle along with them to light the way on their journey... 

Writing Box 2 The items inside the writing box are: a favorite pair of socks (clean of course!), a watch, and an advertisement for a restaurant. We get those monthly magazines that have goods and services advertised in them; why not put them to good use? A possible story could be that your son is all ready for the day with his favorite pair of socks and comfy sneakers. He has some allowance money and goes to the restaurant (the one found in the writing box) with some friends. While he is eating, he glances at his watch only to discover that he has been there for eight hours! How is that possible? Could that watch be a special time vortex watch...?

Of course, those are only my ideas and examples of what kind of stories can be created. Discuss story ideas with the items before beginning writing if your son or daughter has a difficult time. You could start out with a comment such as, “What do these items have in common?” Can you think of a way that these items can be used together?  Jump in on the conversation to help create story ideas, be the scribe by writing down the ideas, and review all the possibilities so that your budding writer has success.
If you would like to have some more fun on a different day, you can have your daughter help with creating a writing box. Have her pick three items and she can tell her story with the ones she has selected.
I hope this helps to get the creative juices flowing. Why not choose three items for yourself and model the writing activity by creating your own story? Be sure to have everyone share when you finish. 
Happy writing!

Lisa McAfee bio:
I am an alumni home educator of two sons and Ohio licensed teacher with over 30 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings. I have been assessing homeschool students’ work for the past 17 years and enjoy helping empower and encourage homeschool moms with their homeschooling. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

Touch-type Read and Spell (TTRS) Review

I have a student who has trouble with spelling and handwriting. I have tried so many programs to try to help him spell. I saw Touch-type Read and Spell at the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and decided to give it a chance. I figured the worst thing that could happen is that he would learn to type. We bought it and have been using it this school year.

SAVE UP TO 73% on Touch-Type Read and Spell

Some facts about the program.  It teaches kids to type by drilling with patterned words.  Instead of nonsense words it uses words like (red-fed-led).  The students complete lessons each day and there are charts that demonstrate their progress.   The cost through the  Homeschool Buyer's Co-op is $79.99  SAVE UP TO 73% on Touch-Type Read and Spell

   The video below is a nice summary.

Review:  I feel like this is a worthwhile program.  Our student has made more progress in spelling than I have seen him make in a long time.  The lessons are clear and easy to follow, and he is completely independent using this program.  There are lovely charts that demonstrate progress in the program.

  Once my student stopped doing TTRS for a few weeks in November. ( I know this is shocking, but sometimes this happens in our home)     The TTRS organization sent me an email and encouraged my student to log in again and the importance of consistency with this program.  If they had not sent me an  email . . .  let's not think about what might have been.  WOW!  What a helpful resource.

My advice if you choose to do this is to set an amount of time your student should be working on this every day and monitor that.  I felt like my student was not doing enough work, but it is kind of hard to judge how much to do.  That would be my only complaint with the program.. But, it could be I have not spent enough time exploring the program to figure this out.

I would highly recommend this program if you have a student with spelling problems, one who needs to learn to type in a systematic way, or has some trouble reading.  I feel like it was well worth the money.  If you go to the Homeschool Buyers Co-op you can learn more.