Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spencer Learning Ultimate Phonics Reading Program Review

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Are you ready for another review? I hope so because we were give the chance to try Ultimate Phonics Reading Program by Spencer Learning. As you can tell from the name this is a phonics reading program. Ultimate Phonics Reading is a downloadable software program. This means that you can download it to your computer and use it off line. Right now the program is on sale for 49.95. 

This program is designed to help beginning and struggling readers of all ages. It helps improve reading grade level, comprehension, and spelling. So that your children are not simply memorizing words or guessing and skipping over the ones they don't know. This program can be used in one of two ways. First you can use it as a stand alone reading program. The second way is to use it as a supplement to help your existing reading program work better. We used it as a supplement since both my girls are already decent readers. 

Downloading and installing is just like any other program its easy. I created a little icon on my desk top so it's easy to find when its time to practice. You can start out with the free 30 day trial to test drive the program then you simply enter your license once you have purchased the program. 

Since both the girls are fairly good readers it took a little adjusting to decide where to start them. The girls are using it to pick up on some of the more difficult phonics patterns that our other program seemed to have skipped over. A few days a week they sit down with one of the upper lessons and just run through it. Its fairly simple to use, there are arrows at the top to go forward to the next part of the lesson or double arrows to skip to the next lesson. Below the arrows is where you will see the lesson. There is a little speaker that you can click to have it read to you. You will also see a bigger version of the phonics pattern or letter you can simply hover your mouse over it and it will play the sound for you.  An older child could probably navigate it on there own but I think a younger one would need a little help.

There are six types of lesson pages in the program.
    Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}
  • Idea- pages tell you about important phonics ideas and concepts.
  • Pattern- pages tell about letter patterns that represent sounds
  • Word list- pages will show you the list of words that are used for a lesson
  • Word- pages will break down the words from the list and sound them out for you
  • Sight Word- pages display words like the, and, is was etc. These are commonly used words.
  • Sentence- pages will provide important reading practice and review of the lesson.
There are 262 phonics lessons, 4,400 words and 2,100 sentences in the program. You can download a scope and sequence for the program if you should happen to need it, and there is a free tracking sheet that you can also download.  I don't see this as a program that a child could use on there own. I feel like a child that is having difficulty reading will need an adult to lead the lessons. How ever a child that is already fairly fluent in reading may be able to navigate the lessons with out too much direction from an adult. Since it had the read it button (aka the little clickable speaker I mentioned above) to help them through the things they are having trouble reading.

The girls felt OK about the program, a little board at times since some of it is review for them but over all it was a well rounded program and covered an amazing amount of phonics lessons. The voice that the program uses is easy to understand and was more human sounding than some of the other programs than I have heard. I liked that there were no dancing characters or games to distract them from the task at hand. It is just straight forward phonics program. I like that it works independent from the internet. More than one child can use the program at a time so its nice for a family that has a couple of kids close together. 

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

Don't forget to click the banner to read how the other Homeschool Review Crew families used Ultimate Phonics Reading Program.

Ultimate Phonics Reading Program {Spencer Learning}

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The simple things

  Just a girl and her dog taking a nap on a rainy  afternoon 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

She is toothless look at that smile. Who is the tooth fairy in your house?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Guinea Eggs

One of our Guinea started laying eggs a few weeks a go. The yolk is about the size of a nickel may be a little bigger it can be eaten in one bite. Looks bigger in the pan than what it t is guess I should have put something In the pan for size reference 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

CHSH Download Club at CHSH-Teach.com review

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

We had the opportunity to review the CHSH Download Club  at CHSH-Teach.com. We were given an annual subscription to the site. Currently and annual subscription to the site is $25 so that's not a bad price considering you can find things for pre k -12th grade.  This site is basically a big stash of homeschooling resources that you can download and print. The site says there are over 50,000 downloadable educational fun. At first I really was not sure what I was going to try out on this site. So I did a little surfing around and played with it for a few days just getting the feel of what was on it and how it worked. Then on the third trip to the site I stumbled on to the dinosaurs. Yup, I knew right away this just what I had been looking for. We are going to be visiting a dinosaur museum in a few weeks and I had been looking for something that would fit the field trip but wouldn't be too hard for a 7 and 9 year old to do on there own. I wanted to start learning how to research. So I printed off the dinosaur pages that I found there were a bunch enough to fill a nice notebook. Downloading was easy and I had no trouble getting it to open on my computer. The pages were great, it had a picture of what the dinosaur looked like. Then is had areas for the girls to fill out. It ask for things like scientific name, where they lived at, what they ate, how big they were, how much they weight. It basically ask everything that a kid would want to know about a dinosaur.  This gave the girls a jumping off point to start there research and a great way to record the information that they could review any time they liked.
Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}
CHSH has a wide variety of subjects available on the download club. Bible Studies, Social Studies, Math, Languages, Science, Language Arts and more. We have downloaded a lot of the math sheets to uses as our daily work sheets for the last couple of weeks. We found pages for things like fractions and multiplication tables. I felt the variety was really good and gave us lots of things to choose from. I also printed off a set about volcano's. We have not hit the Volcano unit in our science curriculum yet but I know that these will be a great addition to our unit study and I am excited to see the girls start using them.

CHSH Download Club continues to add new content all the time. So you keep getting new content as you go through the year. As a subscriber you can even share your own units, or work sheets with other Download Club subscribers.

Click the Banner below to see more about the CHSH Download Club. Other Crew Reviewers may have tried out something different on the site that you might want to hear about.

Christian HomeSchool Hub {Download Club}

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Apologia Educational Ministries Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
We were blessed with the opportunity to review Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition for Apologia Educational Ministries  ~  http://www.apologia.com/
Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy Review
This was our first experience using an Apologia science curriculum. Our kit came with a number of items. There was a student text, a notebooking journal for grades 3+, a junior notebooking journal for grades k-2/3, we also received a Audio CD.

There are 14 lessons in the Astronomy set. It has 63 total activities  42 of them are activities found in the textbook and 21 of them are bonus activities that are noted in the textbook but only found in the Apologia Astronomy Science Kit.

It is a full color curriculum this means the hardback text book is colored and the student notebooking journals are colored. We used both the junior notebook and the standard notebook. I felt both notebooks worked well for multiple grade levels. This is something that is often a little hard to do when a curriculum can be used for more than one grade level. They are spiral bound which makes using them great and the pages don't start falling out half way though the year. The beginning on the notebooking journals have a suggested daily schedule that has check off boxes. My girls like this feature I hand wrote the date in next to each daily assignment so that they could keep track of what day they were on. Now these notebooking journals are a bit heavy in the writing department. But that was to be expected with a notebooking journal. The colored pictures made each writing lesson fun and the cut out projects were a hit with the girls. I did appropriate the fact that they were careful to ensure there was nothing printed on the back of a page they needed to cut out.

Apologia: Exploring Creation with Astronomy ReviewWe received a Exploring Creation With Astronomy CD. This is an MP3 Audio Book so you do need an MP3 compatible cd player. Basically its the text book read to you. This is a super handy item if you have an auditory learner or a slow reader. We used this off an on depending on the lesson. The girls like to play the audio and follow along in the text book. We also use it as a way to review the lessons at the end of the month. We have even listened to it in the car when we were learning on the go.

Exploring Creation with Astronomy text book is very well done. It comes as a hardback full color book. It's loaded with pictures and graphics. The girls liked how each lesson is explained but the activities were by far the favorite part. We found an activity on how to make a compass in lesson 5. The girls plan on taking a copy of this activity with them on the next camping trip to see if they can navigate on a hike with it. At the end of a lesson there is a what do you remember section. This generally ask a few questions to help your child recall what was taught through the lesson. There is an answer key in the back of the text book in case you need it. At the back of the text book you will also find a supply list broken down by lesson. I loved this I could quickly and easily find what I was going to need to complete the next lesson. This helped me to get ready before hand and I always had the items on hand by the time we actually needed them. I did notice on the website that they have a Exploring Creation Astronomy Kit which has the text book notebook etc but it also has some of the non perishable items that you will need to complete the activities. http://www.apologia.com/astrono/489-astronomy-2nd-edition-lab-kit.html.   If I was buying this same curriculum again I would definitely go with the kit. It would save a lot of time and prep work.

We really enjoyed Exploring Creation with Astronomy and I cant wait to get my hands on Exploring Creation with  Human Anatomy and Physiology next year. If you want to read more about Exploring Creation with Astronomy Click the banner below. If you want to read more great reviews from me and the girls don't forget to follow my blog there are several option on the right.

Exploring Creation with Astronomy, 2nd Edition Review
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