Narnia Studies {Homeschool Review Crew}

Narnia Studies

Homeschool Review Crew

As part of school year we are reading(again) all of The Chronicles of Narnia.  We’ve read them several times as a family but this year I want us to do more in-depth Narnia studies of the books.  Our first study is thanks to Progeny Press and their The Silver Chair E-Guide which we are reviewing through the Homeschool Review Crew.

 

Narnia Studies

About The Curriculum

This is an E-Guide so it is downloadable. You can use it as an interactive study or print it off and use that way.  We like to print them off just because we don’t do a lot of school on the computer in our homeschool.  When you have ten kids and limited computers it’s just easier.  Plus I’m a bit anti-technology in the homeschool.  I like for us to experience things and pen and paper seem to allow that to happen more.

For our study, The Silver Chair, students should be in grades 5-7 for the best understanding.  I had two students working through this.  I classify both at a sixth grade level for reading and comprehension so this is a good fit for them.  My students directly next in line are working at more of a fourth grade level and I definitely do not think this would have worked for them.  This is one study that I did not try to tweak to make it work for all my children.  Did we read the books together?  Yes.  Did all my children have discussions and talk about the concepts in the book and what was going on?  Yes.  But the in-depth study would have been way above most of the others heads.

This study guide is relatively new to their line up and is 61 pages long.  It currently retails on their site for $18.99.  I found it to work with both our newer copies and our older copies of The Silver Chair.  They are both full versions though and not abridged.

 

Progeny Press

How We Used

I printed off two copies of this our first in a series of Narnia studies and put each in a three ring binder.  I will add the other studies to the binder as well so all the studies for all the books in the series are contained together.  And because I have OCD tendencies I do feel that I will place them in order, whether if that is order in which they were written or chronological I haven’t decided yet.

My kids have read these books on their own and have had them read to them.  Being very familiar with the written words of this book allows us to move quickly through the study.  I’m really challenging them to dig deeper though.  Dig into the meaning behind the words.  That’s our primary focus.  What is the meaning?  Is there something being conveyed here that we haven’t seen?  Where are the Biblical parallels?  I’m really enjoying helping my kids work through this.

Our Thoughts

We loved it!  Our little homeschool has used Progeny Press studies in the past and adored them so I knew that we would like this one as well.  Because it pertained to one of our favorite books it made it that much more enjoyable.  My kids couldn’t wait until daddy got home so they could tell him new things they learned about this book that we are reading again in school.  Or to quiz him to see if he’d ever made this or that connection.  I love watching them learn and be excited about what they’re learning.  

We love this book and have read it multiple times before which means we’re working through this study at a faster pace.  You can choose to go slower if wanted/needed or take it at a fast pace like us.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about Progeny Press and all their literature studies?  I’m pleased to say that they have other Narnia studies as well.  Some previous reviews we share on the blog include The Sword in The Tree, Sarah Plain and Tall, The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Little House in the Big Woods.  Classify us as BIG fans of this company!!

While you’re checking them out head over to the main Homeschool Review Blog post to read all the reviews.  You can also find Progeny Press on facebook, twitter, pinterest, YouTube, and instagram.  There were a total of four literature study guides being reviewed by the Crew this round.  Make sure to check out the other titles as well over on the blog.

Homeschool Crew Review Disclaimer

Language Arts for Multi Levels {TOS Crew Review}

As I’m sure you have noticed while looking through my blog, I have several different levels of children.  I have different ages and different grades.  I was excited to see that Logic of English redid their Essentials program so that it is now language arts for multi levels.  You can use it for three years!!  We received the Essentials 2nd Edition to review thanks to the TOS Crew.  It currently only contains one volume.  Volume two should be available at the beginning of next year.

 

Logic of English Review
 

The complete set(like what we received) retails for $198 which is a savings of $23 if you were buying each piece individually.  When you purchase the complete set you’re getting:

  • Essentials Teacher’s Guide,(2nd edition) Volume 1 
  • Essentials Student Workbook(2nd edition) Volume 1
  • Spelling Journal
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Morpheme Flash Cards, Set 1
  • 1 Deck Bookface Phonogram Game Cards
  • 1 Deck either cursive or manuscript(purchaser choice) Phonogram Game Cards
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Phonogram and Spelling Quick Rule Reference
  • Spelling Analysis Card

 

Language Arts for Multi Levels

 

If you’re going to use this with more than one child of more than one age or even of the same age, you will need to purchase an additional Student Workbook, Spelling Journal, and the Phonogram Game Cards and Tiles.  The Phonogram Game Cards are only needed if you’re teaching four or more children at the same time.

Some good things to know if you’re thinking of trying out this language arts for multi levels.  It’s scripted.  As in you, the parent/teacher, are not going to have to spend a lot of time planning out the lessons.  It gives you what to do each day.  Makes it short and simple!  

This language arts for multi levels teaches spelling, grammar, and reading all at the same time using only one lesson per week.  You also get to choose if you want the manuscript or cursive to go with it.  Logic of English advocates for teaching your child Cursive first.  You can check out more on the why of that through their website.  

The way that this is a language arts for multi levels is that it is written to be used with three different levels of difficulty.  So you could use with a first grader, second grader, and third grader.  Or you can use the first level with a child struggling with spelling and grammar or reading.  You can easily choose which level to use with which child.  Or you can just use this with one child and use it for three years using the differing degrees of difficulty.

I love that this only requires a half an hour max each day to use.  It’s simple, it’s short, and one lesson is done each week.  Your child is learning and having fun without a struggle(at least in our house).  This is a great program that I recommend. 

If you have used the Essentials series from Logic of English before and want to upgrade to the new edition, you can purchase the upgrade kit that is available online for $93.  It includes the new Teacher’s Guide, Student workbook, and a few other items like new cards for your existing decks that they have redone during the upgrade.

A part I love is the Optional Essential Readers Set for if you’re teaching a struggling reader age 8 or above.  The entire curriculum is geared towards ages 8 and up but the Optional Essential Readers Set is more geared towards special needs children.  I have some of those who struggle with learning and reading and was very excited to get this as a PDF file.  This set includes a Teacher’s Guide, Student Activity Book, and The Essentials Reader.  They came to me as a PDF file and then I could just print them off.  I printed them and put them in binders because I like to have my stuff on the shelf where I can easily get access to it when needed.

Something to think about when ordering this language arts for multi levels is that there are going to be lots of little cards.  We had previously had some of the cards from Logic of English and had trouble with not losing them.  They’re small guys!  Some ideas.  I punched holes into the corners of the cards and then connected each set with a metal hook clasp(like that from a binder) and then all the card packets went into a ziploc bag that we keep with our curriculum.  Solved the problem of missing cards!

Please make sure to hop on over to the Main TOS Blog where you’ll find the reviews from others who received Logic of English products.  Some received the Essentials as I did and some received different levels of the Foundations program.  You can also find Logic of English on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube

 

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Learn Phonics with Memoria Press #hsreviews

Have a little one eager to learn to read?  I have a little girl who is 4 and simply has been begging me to let her do school since the start of the school year when she was only 3!!  Recently we got a review item from the TOS Crew just for HER!  She is working on reviewing First Start Reading from Memoria Press.   We have found a great way to learn phonics with Memoria Press and she is now constantly asking me to do school with her.

 

Teach your child to read
We received physical copies of the Student Books A-D as well as the Teacher’s Guide.  On their site they state that this is for Kindergarten.  They don’t define that by an age, but I can say that my four-year old is adoring the program.  She loves learning and often begs me to let her do school and then begs me to let her do more school.  She has been writing her name for a few months now and knows most of her letters.

 

Memoria Press Review

 

If you have been reading about me and my blog you know I actually have two little four-year old children.  If you are going to use this with more than one child you will need to purchase a student set to go with the full set.  You’re going to want the teacher’s book too, so don’t just buy two student book sets thinking you’ll just figure it out.  Honestly.  Don’t do that.  You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by just getting the book.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t always buy the teacher’s book, but for this set I can honestly say that I would buy the teacher’s book for myself.  

Want to know why this program is so great?  The first for me is the way it teaches your child to read.  It doesn’t teach them to sound it out by putting the first letters together in the way some programs do, but by word families.  Using the word family approach the child learns a vowel-consonant sound.  So they would learn how to say the letters -at together and then start adding letters in front of that so cat would c-at instead of going at it like ca-t.  This may not be a big deal for some people, but this is a deal breaker for my family.  I tried to teach my older children in the second way when they were little and they just couldn’t get it.  Once we switched to the word family learning it went so smoothly!

Not only does your child learn how to sound out words with the vowel-consonant or word family approach but they are also going to learn common words so they don’t have to sound them out all the time.  In the four workbooks they learn a total of 45 common words.  They also learn all the consonant sounds as well as long and short vowels.  Being that this is a complete phonics course in four books you also are given short stories(total of thirty-one) that your child can read and assessments in each book.  Your child will learn proper pencil grip(oh so important) as well as the proper formation of letters, how to sound out the letters and so much more.

When you go through the book it is eye catching without being loud and obnoxious.  There is room for the child to draw and write without feeling squished but not an overabundance of white space that can seem daunting to young children(and even adults).  There are cute pictures to help them learn what sound the letter makes.  They also have a spot for them to draw their own picture of something that starts with the letter you’re working on as well.  You as the parent are merely helping them with this to make the correct sounds and letter formation with proper pencil grip.  You will also be telling them how the letter sounds in different spots in words(beginning versus end) so that they can use that knowledge to write words that they are hearing.

 

Memoria Press First Start Reading

 

 

This is a great set for learning to read.  I had used a different phonics program for my older kids when they were learning to read and comparing the two in my head I really like that this program works on how to properly hold the pencil as well as shape and form their letters.  It not only works on reading but also on handwriting as well as thinking skills.  

Some things that my little girl loves about this is that it makes her free independent and like such a big girl.  She has known most of her letters for a while and some of their sounds but she has really wanted to learn to read.  She was so excited that she could read a word her first day.   She is enjoying getting to color and read at the same time.  The writing is not her favorite part but she is doing so well with it.  She has better handwriting already than some of my older children!  Not sure if that is this program or if it’s just the fact that she is more of a fine detail type girl where the others could care less.

I really enjoy that the teacher’s book contains all I need to know.  I don’t have to prep a lot of stuff.  It’s already figured out for me so all I have to do is work with her.  This is great for me because I have nine children.  With adding my four-year old to the schooling mix I now have seven of those nine doing school on a daily basis.  And yes I said daily.  My sweet little four-year old would already be done with all four books if I let her go at her own pace.  She is so excited!  So driven to learn and ready to take on the world!  Love seeing her learn and want to learn.

We’re still working on this program and haven’t finished it yet but I can say that it has already become a favorite.  If your little one is eager to read you should let them learn phonics with Memoria Press and First Start Reading.

Want to connect with Memoria Press and learn more?  Check them out on facebook, twitter, pinterest, google +, and instagram.  Still want to learn more?  Make sure to head over and check out the other reviews on the Main TOS Crew blog page.  

 

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Make Learning Fun for Kids #hsreviews

Do your kids like their reading and spelling programs?  Are you wanting more for them to do?  Want to make learning fun for kids?  Spelling and reading and writing too?

Essential Skills Advantage Review
Essential Skills Advantage offers just that.  You’ll find remedial work for children grades K-6 in reading, writing, and spelling.   If you’re not sure whether your child would fit in the grade K-6 category the ages recommended are 4-12.  But keep in mind it is remedial work so you might be able to use it for older ages as well.

Essential Skills Advantage Review
As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received the Premium version for review.  This is access to EVERYTHING that Essential Skills Advantage has to offer.  You can try out a 14 day free trial or simply start-up a membership for $9.99 for one month.  If you’re interested in signing up before October 1st simply use code TOS50 to get 50% off your monthly fee.  For the duration of your sign up you will only pay $4.99 per month!  That’s right!  As long as you sign up before the 1st of October every month you use will only be $4.99.  

Essential Skills Advantage now also offers a free version of their program.  You do have access to all of the programs with this but it does contain sponsored advertisements. This would be a great idea for those on a strict budget though.  You can sign up for that HERE.  

When offered this review I had to go look at their site because I had never heard of them before.  This began to make sense as I learned that until recently they had only been used in school settings.  The program covers language arts.  All aspects of language arts really.  Your child will be covered in spelling, reading, comprehension, and more.  It’s also created in such a way that it’s not distracting.  There aren’t a lot of extras on the screen to distract.  It’s simple to use and easy to understand.  

make learning fun for kids

 

This program says they are a supplement to regular learning and not a replacement.  I think some people might be able to work their way into making it a full curriculum, but since we already have a curriculum we love for this it was a supplement for us.  But a very fun supplement and one that I was very happy to be counting on our log book.  

I had 6 students that were signed up for the program.  Not every student used it every day, and the younger kids did not use it as much as the older ones.  My older ones(two in the third grade right now) were able to just sit down and work on the program.  I did not have to be right there with them looking over their shoulder which is something that I always like.  It frees up time for me while they are occupied learning that I can work more hands on with another child.  

make learning fun for kids

 

My children are not proficient at keyboarding, but they still did really well with this program.  The younger ones had to have more time allotted for the same amount of lessons because they are even further behind on familiarity with a keyboard.  I think I may have to come up with a typing/keyboarding course for my kids now to help them get faster.

The lessons are timed and do each get a grade.  My kids love seeing their little grade card at the end of each lesson.  Of course, they love it even more when it says they did everything right!  Some of the fun lessons they have are spelling by un-jumbling words or doing a word search, or other such fun things!  We work on word comprehension by placing the correct word in a sentence.  

So what else do you need to know?  Even though this is considered additional/supplemental work for your student, it’s still a good idea to use it more than just once in a while.  It’s good to have it on the schedule and routine.  My two third graders used this three days a week. My two that are more on a first grade level in these areas used it two to three days per week depending on when we had time.  They do need some help and supervision.  My two kindergarteners used it twice a week.  They need a lot of help still considering they really haven’t learned all the basics yet.

online reading program

 

Let’s talk shortly about what the program can do for you with very young children.  You can start with reading readiness like us.  It’s really simple and does a lot with pictures instead of words.  The words are added to help familiarize your child with them and start associating those letters with those pictures.  It’s fun and my kiddos didn’t really realize they were learning until it was too late and they already knew it!  The first lesson we did simply had them listen to the computer voice say the name of an animal and they had to click on it.  This is where things got tricky for us.  They weren’t that good at the clicking part.  So I would have them point to the one they wanted me to click on.  It did involve me being there and able to help them.  These were really easy for my kids as my two boys this age can already write their names and know most of their alphabet, but I wanted to start out at the very beginning just so I knew what was there.  I have two little girls starting preschool this year and I was wanting to see how this program would work for them.  For the young ones it really is a lot of hearing and comprehending to what you are seeing for the reading readiness.

What about you as the parent?  Is there a way to make sure your child actually completed the lessons they were supposed to?  Check to make sure they did them right?  Why yes there is!  Not only do they make learning fun for kids but they make record keeping easy for moms too!  You can login and go to the my students tab which will show you what your student has done and how close they are to completion of that particular course!  I’m loving it!

Finally, this program does what it says it will.  It gives you addition work for your child and in the process it does make learning fun for kids!

Interested in learning more?  Simply head over to the Main TOS Crew Review Page and check out all of the reviews.  There were 50 reviewers on this one with different age children, so you’re sure to find something that you can relate to.  You can also check out Essential Skills Advantage on their social media links including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.  

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