Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: Home School Navigator

Home School Navigator
For the past few weeks, I have been using Home School Navigator with my four children for their language arts education as part of my review. This program is designed to compile the various aspects of a language arts curriculum into one package. Specifically this program focuses on the following five aspects of language arts:
  • Grammar
  • Reading
  • Writing 
  • Word study
  • Vocabulary
Instead of creating grade levels, Home School Navigator uses color levels -- recognizing that learning very rarely falls into exact grades. The colors for this program are as follows: 
  • Level RED: Child is learning letter recognition and formation. (Approx. Kindergarten reading level)
  • Level ORANGE Child can read simple words and sentences and is beginning to write. (Approx. 1st grade reading level)
  • Level YELLOW Child can read simple stories and write complete sentences. (Approx. 2nd grade reading level)
  • Level GREEN Child is can read short chapter books and is writing in longer passages. (Approx. 3rd grade reading level)
  • Level BLUE Child is reading chapter based books and is writing in paragraph form. (Approx. 4th grade reading level)
  • Level INDIGO Child can read longer chapter books, critique ideas, and write longer pieces of writing. (Approx. 5th grade reading level)
As a parent, you have access to every single level. You can choose which level to start your child on and change levels if it is too easy or too hard. Each level comes complete to guide you through 36 weeks of learning. Here's what included in a "package":
    Home School Navigator
  • A 36 Week Course
  • Daily Reading, Writing, and Word Study Lesson Plan (including flex days for your busy schedule!)
  • 60 Instructional Videos
  • Word Study Program (including word wall headings, cards, and games)
  • Activities That Encourage Multiple Learning Styles
  • Monthly Skills Checklist
  • Portfolio Maintenance 
  • Monthly Goal Sheet/Portfolio Check-In
  • Downloadable Review Games
  • And More!
For $97 (a little over $8 a month) your child and can work through this program on a daily basis.

I set my children in the following levels"
  • Hannah (age 4.5): Level RED
  • Abigail (age 6.5): Level ORANGE
  • Sidge (age 9):Level GREEN
  • Isaac (age 10):Level GREEN
Below is a screen shot I took of what Day 1 of our study looks like using Isaac/Sidge as an example. You can see that each day is clearly defined as to what we need to do:
I did a short "trial" of this program during the six weeks or so that I was reviewing it. This guide above shows you exactly what we did on a given day. Every single day is outlined like this for you making it super easy to follow along. Most things were available to me through the program or online, and if not, I got a few things at the library. 
 
While I only used this program on a trial basis during the last six weeks, I was nearly immediately sold on it. I want to let everyone know that I am planning on using this as THE language arts of our homeschool curriculum come fall. In fact, we will be homeschooling nine kids together this fall as I will be working in tandem with my cousin Hannah and her five children. Truly I believe that if you add a science and a math to this curriculum, your school year is completely set. It's that complete. It covers sooooo much.
 
As I mentioned above, each reading level comes complete with most everything you need to teach your child language arts from K-5th grade. There are daily reading, writing, and word study lesson plans. I strongly encourage you to check out Home School Navigator today. It is incredibly well priced and incredibly well done. I do not think you will be dissapointed!
You can check out Home School Navigator on Facebook, Pinterest (under Home School Navigator) or Instagram.

Home School Navigator Reading and Language Arts Curriculum {Home School Navigator Reviews}
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Monday, May 21, 2018

Review: Reformed Free Publishing Association

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC
I have the pleasure of sharing a delightful book for 3-6 year olds with you: 
T is for Tree: A Bible ABC from Reformed Free Publishing Association.

Here are a few snapshots inside the cover of this sweet and simple book. You will notice the pages are very peaceful and subtle as illustrated in this excerpt from the letter X and letter B below. There is one page for every letter of our alphabet. The images are very lifelike and beautifully done. 
T is for Tree: A Bible ABC
T is for Tree: A Bible ABC

And here is a picture of my little four-year-old, Hannah, holding the book:


You can see from Hannah holding it about how big the book is and what size it is. It is a hardcover book and rectangular in shape. Even the cover provides a good explanation of what is within the pages. This is a sweet and peaceful book designed to be read by adult to child. I love that I can teach them letters while also continuing to read scripture. 

*****

Each page provides a letter and something in our world that goes with that letter:

A is for ANTS
D is for DAWN
I is for ICE

And with each letter, a short rhyme is included followed by a scripture. 

*****

For example, here is the text of three random pages from the book that I chose to share with you: 

A is for ANTS
Though weak and small in size,
They gather food all summer.
May God make us as wise. 

"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer" Prov. 30:24-25

*****

D is for DAWN
When morning lights the skies. 
Our Savior is the day star
Who in our hearts will rise. 

*****

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts." II Peter 1:19

*****

I is for ICE
Cast out across the land.
Our God sends forth his bitter cold.
Before it, who can stand? 

"He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?" Ps. 147:17

*****

I think this would make a perfect gift for any parents' library, and I think it is specifically designed fro children who are still being read to. 

I encourage you to check out the Reformed Free Publishing Association on Facebook or Twitter. You can also check out reviews from my fellow Crew Members by clicking on the box below: 

T is for Tree: A Bible ABC {Reformed Free Publishing Association Reviews}


Crew Disclaimer

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Scrubs and Ritter and Arabelle

Stones I painted for Scrubby's grave when my friend Leeann was here.

The sign on our farm which takes you on a shortcut past Scrubby's grave.

I never thought I would love another dog like I loved Scrubs. And to be honest, I don't think I do. Scrubby occupies a very special corner of my heart and was with me during an era in my life. John once said that Scrubs sort of defined a "season" of our life. He was there to lead us into parenthood and raising young children. He was there during our military years. He got us to where we needed to be and left us when his job was done.

But now I have two new dogs, and I have found they occupy a new part of my heart. Ritter is our "big lug." He truly wants only one thing in life and that is to be pet and loved and scratched and get his belly rubbed. He never barks at anyone. He simply runs up to them and rolls over. I love watching him as people walk by him. He looks at them and starts to roll over. It's as if he is saying, "I'd like to roll over onto my back, but before I do, I'd like you to make it clear you plan to stop what you are doing and pet me."

The other day, when the kids first moved upstairs after sleeping in our room for three months, they were a little scared. I told Abigail not to fear. Arabelle was outside with her pups, but I was going to leave Ritter at the bottom of the stairs to guard everyone. Abigail scrunched up her nose and said, "Mom, that's a terrible idea. He's the worst guard dog in the history of the universe. He wouldn't bark at a bad guy."

Touché little lady.

Ritter is Sidge's dog. Ritter doesn't have a "person" but Sidge has a dog. Ritter brings him so much joy, and is simply a big pile of love. He is not a good farm dog. He listens when he wants to and if you aren't watching, he'd eat any animal I let him eat. He will walk with me around the farm, but I have to watch him like a hawk. He is a house dog through and through. If he is outside, and I don't have time to give him full attention, he has to be on leash because we just don't trust him. Not only could he go after an animal, but he'd jog off with anyone who promised him a lifetime of belly rubs.

And then there is Arabelle. Arabelle is one of those dogs you hear about but don't believe exists. She is Lassie. She is absolutely and utterly sold out to me. She follows me, watches me, and truly believes it is her job to go everywhere with me. She seems to know we are doing the animal chores. She appears to speak English. She will sit and wait for me. She will watch me in the rain until I am done. A rabbit will cross her path, and I'll say "leave it" and she'll stop mid-stride. She can be across the farm, and if I call her name, she will come and sit at my side. She listens without exception and nearly perfectly. Not as good with others as with me, but she is simply breathtaking. I have never even met a dog like her. She has the full run of the farm, and we trust her absolutely and completely. She barks at strangers and keeps her distance but never gets aggressive. I am hoping to train her to run "errands" to Grampa and Grama's house (bringing things we need back and forth wearing a little dog backpack.) I really think she can do it.

And then there is Arabelle as a mom. WOW. Just WOW. We have decided we will do another litter next year as she is so wonderful at this and it has been so fun for us. She's amazing.

Since I have trained all my dogs the same, it is completely apparent that the dog's personality is a huge part of how well they do. They are like kids. You try really hard, but who they are is a huge part of  how they do!

I am so blessed to have had three wonderful dogs in my life. I loved them all in such different and wonderful ways. Every time I walk by Scrubs' grave I tell him, "Good boy Scrubby. You are a good boy." He really wasn't a good boy. He was a piece of work and always giving us a run for our money. But I loved him something huge. And I'm so glad I listened to a lot of good advice and decided to love another dog after him.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Visiting Another Farm

Abigail's good friend, Hailey (who will be getting one of our pups!) held a birthday party at a neighboring farm who does little "farm birthday parties." We had a wonderful day. Linda (and Eli) joined the girls and me while the boys hung out at the house. Here are some pics from the day: 


This pig was just like a dog! Lying down for belly scratches!


The owner had so many delightful and adorable little touches.




This picture CRACKS me up!


Hannah just wasn't feeling it.


Love this! :)



Abigail is doing such a good job holding Eli. Aren't they the sweetest!?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Awesome Puppy Pictures

The seven little puppies

Sidge with Luca who is getting the puppy he is holding: Trapper! His Mom brought him by today and surprised him. 

Little Chubba Chubba
The three red merles 









Big Chubba

Little Chubba

Finn

Trapper

Finn








Lacey (the other child who will be adopting Trapper!)