Old-Fashioned Learning {Homeschool Review Crew}

Old-Fashioned Learning

Homeschool Review Crew

I love to implement old-fashioned learning into our schooldays.  Recently I was able to do this with Eclectic Foundations Language Arts Level A from Eclectic Foundations as part of a review through the Homeschool Review Crew.  


Old-Fashioned Learning


This curriculum was on my wish list due to the fact that it is built around and uses McGuffey’s Readers. I have the whole set plus the Arithmetic that we take with us to Civil War Reenactments so that I can use them with our children.  I really wanted to be able to use them on a regular basis but didn’t want to spend the time creating a curriculum around them.  

Enter Eclectic Foundations and making my old-fashioned learning dreams come true!  All you need to purchase in addition to the curriculum is a copy of McGuffey’s Reader.  

About the Curriculum

The student workbooks are consumable so you will need extra of those for each student.  Teachers only need one copy for multiple students though.

When using this great old-fashioned learning curriculum, your child doesn’t need additional language arts curriculums.  This one curriculum covers phonics, grammar, spelling, reading comprehension, handwriting, compositions, and poetry.  A well-rounded education in a neat and tidy package!

The curriculum works you through 36 weeks using four days per week.  It has a Biblical worldview as does the original McGuffey’s readers that it’s based on.  Each level has 144 lessons.  Level A, B, and C are currently available with Level D hoping to release this year!

With Level A phonics lessons come first.  After all, you have to know the letters and what they say before you can read!  After phonics comes handwriting.  Letters are first made using play dough or some facsimile and then written.  Word cards are included to be used towards the end of this Level.  My kids loved the Mother Goose poem that was found at the end of each lesson.  

The word cards are unique as they are to be colored by your child.  Your child, the student, colors the cards as part of the course work.  Each card needs to be colored as shown as they correlate with parts of speech.  So, even if they don’t know what a “noun” or a “verb” are, they can read all the green words and see that they are actions.  All the red words will then be naming something.  


Old-Fashioned Learning

My Thoughts

This curriculum is super easy to use.  It works at a calm easy pace and you do four short lessons a week.  This is great if you’re using with younger children or older children as it’s not stressful.  You can then also have time on the fifth day to work on anything you need extra practice on or just have a freebie day.  My kids love freebie days!

I loved that this only is four days a week as much as my kids did!  It means that we have time to do other things or even add in an extra read aloud book on our off day.  Or, because we tend to have a really busy day on Mondays we just use it as a skip day so we’re not late for our other appointments.  

All in all, my daughter who is using this curriculum(age 6) is really loving it.  My 3-year-old has also been begging to start so she will being cycling through Level A soon as well.  It’s easy to use and teaches all that is important to teach to young children concerning language arts.  Best part, that it doesn’t take hours and agonizing with a child who doesn’t want to do it!


Language Arts {Eclectic Foundations }

Learn More

Want to learn more about old-fashioned learning and Eclectic Foundations?  Check out the main Blog Post over on the Homeschool Review Crew blog where all the reviews will be linked up.  Different levels have also been reviewed so you can see which level your child might be ready for.  We received and reviewed Level A but there are also Levels B and C as well.  Find Eclectic Foundations on Facebook too!


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Language Arts with IEW {TOS Crew Review}

We love the amount of products we get to review and try out from the TOS Crew!  Today I’m going to share one of those products with you.  This one came to us from Institute for Excellence in Writing(IEW).  We received Deluxe Combo Teacher/Student Writing Package Level A Fix it! Grammar 1 and 2.  This whole package we received is geared towards grades 3-5 and then the parent teacher as well.


IEW Review

Just telling you I received the Deluxe Combo doesn’t tell you much does it?  This is a TON of material!  Right now on their website it’s listed as being $299 for it all!  That tells you this is a lot of material for helping your child learn Language Arts with IEW.  I can’t say enough good things about this Deluxe Combo.  If you’re not sure how to teach Language Arts this is for you.  If your children and struggling with language arts, this is for you too!


Learning with IEW


Here’s what we received:

  1. Teaching Writing: Structure and Style DVD Set with Premium Subscription
  2. Seminar Workbook
  3. Student Writing Intensive DVD’s Level A, including the Structure and Style overview
  4. Student Notebook with handouts and lesson plans
  5. Fix-It Grammar books 1 and 2 with e-book student downloads
  6. A Word Write Now
  7. Portable Walls

This is a ton of stuff!  Seriously, I really can’t even begin to tell you all about how you can use this stuff.  You’re going to have to trust me when I say it’s all super useful!

I’m going to talk about these in no specific order but we will get to them all.


Learning Language Arts with IEW


The first one I want to touch on is the Portable Walls.  I love this.  It saves wall space which we lack.  You have a tri-fold laminated supplement to help with teaching.  It’s all the posters most curriculums give you but on this neat little tri-fold that you can set out and use and then put back on a shelf.  You can easily fold it to get to the page you’re using and let it sit next to you child, on their desk, or pin it to a board.  Definitely love this little teacher’s helper as I don’t have the wall space for what I already have!

Next is the A Word Write Now.  This is a thesaurus type book for your student to use.  It’ll help your child find some new words to use instead of saying the same one over and over.  My kids love to write but they don’t use the vocabulary they have all the time.  This is a great way to circle a word and ask them to change it to something else.  Instead of small go look up small in your book and see what you can find is a great way to have them learn to not only use but spell correctly new words.

I’ve reviewed Fix it! Grammar before, you can find that in my Grammar for Kids post, but we’ll discuss it here a bit too!  I received the spiral bound versions of the Teacher’s Book for Levels 1 and 2.  Those are Level 1: The Nose Tree and Level 2: Robin Hood.  The student books are downloadable e-books so you can download and print those off.  This is great for me so I can download and then print more than one copy for multiple children.  You can purchase the student books in spiral bound format too.  The main principle of Fix-It! Grammar is for your student to read a passage and find the errors.  They then fix them.  Using this method they are reading a story and fixing it as they go.  Pretty ingenious as they think they’re having fun while they do school!  If you’re not sure where your child should start you can have them take a placement test.  These are geared for grades 3-5.

Next up is the Student Writing Intensive: Level A.  This has a few different parts.  You get a binder and a packet with pages.  The pages are the handouts and weekly lesson plans.  We also then got the DVD series.  This is a 4 dvd writing course for elementary students.  The instructor is Mr. Andrew Pudewa.  He’s easy to listen to and fun enough to hold the kids attention.  The student pages spell out where on the DVD you should be each day so you’re not driving yourself crazy trying to find where to go.  This is a 30 week course.  Each lesson is 30-40 minutes.  You only listen to one lesson per week though and then do the writing work for the other days.  It’s really a super simple and easy program for the kids to do.  The lessons are fun to listen to and keep them engaged, the work doesn’t seem hard and definitely doesn’t bore them.  It’s a program that they enjoy doing.


IEW Review

The last item in our kit is for the teacher.  That’s me!  I have a class to do.  This is a 12 dvd course taught again by Mr Andrew Pudewa but it is to teach us how to teach our children.  It’s set up as a course and like the student course you have a binder with all the information you’re going to need as well.  We also received a Premium Subscription which includes online streaming video and e-resources to make your learning easier.  Then you can watch and listen when you are on the go as well.  This is really a huge resource.  There is so much to learn here.  I have not finished going through the whole thing yet.  This is teaching me how to teach my children to write.  You’re building a foundation with your children and it’s so important that you know how to do this.  Love how this is teaching and can’t wait to get through it.  I have a feeling I’ll be going through this several times over the years!

I have to say right now that this is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written.  It’s hard because there is SO MUCH stuff to write about in our Language Arts with IEW package that I really had no clue where to begin.  I hope I’ve done them justice and shared what we truly loved as well as the ins and outs of everything!  Feel free to ask questions you have in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Check out all the other reviews on the Main TOS Review Crew Blog to see all of the different products people were allowed to review and what they thought!  Also connect with IEW on Facebook, Vimeo, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Google +, and their blog!


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Online Learning for Math and Language Arts with IXL #hsreviews

Our 2014 year of reviews with the TOS Crew is coming to a close soon but we’re so excited to share this review of IXL with you!  We got a chance to use both the online learning version of Math and online learning of Language Arts for five of our kiddos.  We received a year subscription to both which is very awesome!


Christmas Book Review
IXL is NOT an online course that covers everything your child needs to know for that subject and you’ll never have to visit it again.  It’s a supplemental course to be used WITH your regular curriculum.  It is however, a great supplemental program to help your child hone their math and language art skills.  You can find the area they struggle in and get them some extra practice.  Oh and then you’ve got that it works more like a game or play for kids so they don’t really remember that they are actually learning.  

The Math portion of IXL goes from preK all the way up to 12th grade covering geometry and algebra as well as pre-calculus.  The language arts course starts with second grade but does go up to 8th grade, though it will soon go all the way to 10th grade as they are working on adding the next two grades.  This is definitely an online learning program that would be beneficial for a long time.  

Interested?  Want to know the prices?  Well I can help you out there!  For a family membership, you start at just $9.95 per month or $79 per year for one subject.  Want to add a child?  No problem!  It is just an additional $2 per month of $20 per year.  Check out this page for more information on pricing.  There are definite savings to using this program with more than one child and using both programs versus just one or the other.  To show that, one child for one year with math only is $79, but that same child for one year for math and language arts is going to be $129.  Make that one year for both online learning programs and it’s only $149.  


IXL online learning




Okay, so now I’ve told you about the program a bit, what ages it’s for, and\ the pricing.  Let’s talk about my family and how we used it, what we liked/disliked and what you can expect.

Starting with the parent.  You log in.  You have access to all reports and students.  I can see what my oldest did and what my youngest did.  I can see how well they did.  I really love the fact that I can turn off the timer.  My kids don’t like to be timed.  Seeing that timer counting is distracting to most of them and not helping them do their best.  Because this is supplemental, I do not mind them doing it quickly or slowly as long as they get it done and get in the extra concept practice they need.  

We’re talking likes here so some things my kids liked are next.  All of my kids liked that they knew immediately if they did the question right or wrong.  Being able to redo and redo until they got the section right was another plus.  I have one little boy who has to have everything perfect before he’ll move on.  He could do that here without feeling like he had failed.  This is great!  It makes it something he wants to do!


online learning IXL


I had five kids using this program.  The recommended is to use this at least three days per week.  To be fully honest, not all five of those kids used the program three days per week.   With only two computers in the house there wasn’t time for that.  But they all did use the program.  Some kids used it five days a week and some maybe used it one day this week and three the next.  It was more based on who was needing extra help in the areas covered by IXL.  

My youngest using the program is 6.  He is in kindergarten in our school, but the first thing he wanted to do on IXL math was patterns.  He did patterns at the first grade level and ACED it!  Seriously.  Got them all right.  They even gave him a challenge section.  Some of the patterns he asked me for help with because he wasn’t sure what the shapes they were showing him were.  That’s fine.  I was okay with talking to him about the shapes.  But, there is another way he could have known what the given pattern was.  There is a little microphone button that allows you to hear the pattern spoken to you.  This is automatically on all the lower grades and you, as the parent, can okay for it to be on the higher levels as well.  

IXL online learning

There are rewards and incentives with this program as well.  Above you see how Colin mastered a skill.  With that skill mastery he got to unlock a spot on the chart.  He got a monkey.  For every skill mastered he gets another prize.  It tells him what he has to do to unlock the next medal as well.  

Find IXL on social media.  They are active on facebook, twitter, and google +.  For us, IXL is a wonderful resource.  It’s a great online learning tool for helping us practice on things we aren’t quite getting or are not doing at our best level.  I know that I can find a specific section by grade and choose for that child what they need to work on.  Thy can then work on it and get that skill mastered.  This offers me freedom.  I have the freedom to help a child who needs to do some reading with a parent listening.  I have the freedom to work on counting with a four year old.  

This program is a great fit for our family.  My only wish is that we had more computers.  Or tablets/iPad devices as they also offer an app that can be used on iPads or newer Kindle Fires.  We don’t have any of those.  I only just recently got an iPhone and it’s an older design.  We’re still behind the times of what most families are technologically.  Here’s hoping eventually we can get a Kindle Fire or iPad and that will add an extra device for my kids to use this program on.  I don’t normally like screen time in any form for kids.  We don’t do television except the occasional movie.  We don’t do games on the computers or any other devices.  But we do do school.  And this program.  We do this program.  In the next few years I am going to have to figure out what it would cost to have 9 kids using it.  

Interested in learning more about IXL?  Remember the math is fore PreK all the way up to grade 12.  I only use the first few years so you’re going to want to check out other reviews to see about the higher levels.  The same is true of the Language Arts course as well.  If your kids are older you’re going to want to check some other reviews as well.  So pop on over to the Main TOS Crew Review page to see what everyone else thinks of this online learning resource.


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