Friday, December 30, 2011

Review: R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish

We recently had an opportunity to review a new Spanish program specific to homeschooling families.   Homeschool Spanish was created with the intent to get the whole family involved, which is always a plus to a homeschooling family.

About the Program

From the Author...

REAL Homeschool Spanish trains you and your child to be able to learn Spanish together and interact together in fun and interesting ways.

You can interact with your children in an immersion environment using REAL Homeschool Spanish's east to follow "Home Educator Tips" and our unique "idea" sections which give you literally pages of suggestions on how you and your child can use Spanish during your day and throughout the week in a home learning environment/lifestyle.

Learn how to continue your language-learning journey outside of the initial  learning stage.  Play games with your, hangman, create albums, have your child design his/her own board game...These are just a few ways for you to be able to create a personalized language-learning environment in your home.

The curriculum is divided into ten learning units which cover: greetings, colors/numbers, food, family, anatomy, clothing/weather/seasons/months, places/transportation/days of the week/verbs/grammar, animals/nature, sports/grammar, and house/grammar.   Each unit introduces new vocabulary using a conversational format, meant to be used throughout your daily life.  Then you work through various activities in the activity book and more hands-on projects in the tips and ideas sections.

Our Experience

Wow!  I'm not even sure what to say.  My download included two "texts, in color and B&W, an activity book, audio files, an answer key, and a daily curriculum guide. This curriculum contains so much material. Pages, and pages, and pages of ideas.  At first I was a bit overwhelmed with it.  Then I noticed the curriculum guide, which had it all broken down for me.  Shew!  I don't speak a foreign language, I don't know how to plan for it, I need someone to tell me what to do.

We started off each unit working through the vocabulary using the handy-dandy audio files.  They are totally awesome for a non-Spanish speaking mom like me.  I have butchered many a foreign language in my time.  We use the audio files everyday to help us review the correct pronunciation.

We would spend the rest of the on various activities in the activity guide, projects from the idea section, or visiting cultural websites.  One of my daughter's favorite projects was making a comic strip in Spanish.  I'm sure that one will be repeated.  These are the activities that take the learning one step further and help cement it in their brains.  Plus they're fun.

My favorite things: The curriculum guide, audio files, and the fact that I could load the texts on my iPad so I didn't have to read off of the computer.  Woot!!

My cons:  I need more structure.  Sounds crazy since I've already mentioned how wonderful the curriculum guide is.  However, a lot of the projects are more craft related.  I am not a crafty or creative person and when someone tells me to make a board game or a puppet my eyes start to glaze over and I automatically envision hours of sweeping up glitter.  Some of suggestions for extending the learning kind of intimidated me due to my aforementioned craft aversion.   I think I'd probably fare better with a "kit" of everything I needed all ready to go for me.  I need step by step directions on how to make the board game.  Sad, I know.  I realize that this is all MY issue and probably won't be a problem for most people.


Ages:  For the entire family
              Downloadable Book Bundle $49.95
              Downloadable Book Bundle w/ Curriculum Guide $59.95
              Book Bundle Hard Copy $89.95 + free shipping
              Book Bundle Hard Copy w/ Curriculum Guide $99.95 + free shipping

Click the Crew Banner below to read more reviews of Homeschool Spanish.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Homeschool Spanish for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hey, We're Still Here

I haven't been feeling like blogging again, too much Christmas fun to be bothered. And maybe some Christmas lay-around-and-do-nothing was involved to. And, quite possibly, my December Daily book has kept me so busy that I don't want to be on the computer for anything else.

 Mackenzie has just been enjoying her free time.  Kayleigh has done some tot school but I haven't gotten around to editing those photos so you'll just have to take my word for it.  lol

Next week, we'll be back to the grind.  We have a few changes in store for us and a lot of great things to review.  I'll share more about that later.  For now I'll share some more of my December Daily layouts.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: Letters Make Words App

I was recently given the opportunity to review the Letter Make Words app using the Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting method.

From the Letters Make Words Company:

The user can select any letter. Each one comprises a complete unit of instruction for that letter, a warmup pattern, the letter and a word to trace and to sound out. When a letter has a different sound depending on its usage in words, choose from either of two words. The next screen has three words to sound out with a silly sentence for the child to write on paper.
A friendly voice coaches the child to finger trace with the index finger, thereby encouraging good pencil/pen hold when actually writing. It’s the index finger that should push a pen to make marks with the greatest ease of movement.
Lowercase letters are featured. An app for capitals and numerals will follow soon. Lowercase are the ones we most need when we write, and are the easiest to form.
Letter-related warmup patterns start each unit to help the child with formations.
Starting points and directions for strokes are clearly defined, graphically and by the audio that guides a child through all finger tracing and pronunciation.
Letters are designed for ease of writing and legibility. Reversals (b for d, etc.) are never an issue with the formations used in this app.
Our Experience
We are huge fans of our iPad and were so excited to be able to review an app for it.  Especially since it was an app for our preschooler, who generally commandeers the iPad for her own personal use.  I wasn't sure how well a handwriting app would go over with her though, she doesn't like to be told what to write. LOL  Much to my surprise, she really likes this app.  I, however, found it a little frustrating. 
It starts off with a warm up for the letter.  As the child traces the form is supposed to change color.  Which it does, sort of.    It gradually darkens the moment your finger is put on the starting spot.  However it doesn't follow where the child actually writes.  From a teaching perspective, I found that a little frustrating because she'd be writing anywhere and the form would still change color.  Other times I would trace it, on the lines, and it wouldn't change at all.   So there is no direction as to whether the child is doing it correctly or not.

After the warm up pattern is traced it asks if the letter can fit on the pattern?  It always answers "not exactly but it moves in the same way."  I found that confusing and I already know how to write.  You are then given an opportunity to trace the actual letter and a word using the letter.  When the child traces the word, they point out the sound that the letter makes.  However, they may or may not have learned to write the other letters in the word.  That can be stressful for the child.  

Lastly they are given words to use in a sentence that they are to write with pencil and paper.  I found this to be a very odd request.  I would never ask a child who is just learning to form letters to write an entire sentence.

Final Thoughts

After using this app with my child, I see more as a supplement for a student needing extra help in handwriting rather than for a child learning to form letters.  I don't think it offers enough correction for a student new to handwriting.  Clearly, I had some frustrations with the method but I think those would be alleviated if the app were directed towards children who already able to write letters.

That being said, my daughter does like it.  She enjoys attempting to trace the patterns, the teaching voice was pleasant, and she loves repeating the directions along with the voice.  I also liked how the pattern tracing helped teach her to leave her pencil on the paper when forming letters.  I can definitely see it coming in very handy in the future.


Letters Make Words is available on iTunes.

Pricing: Special $2.99 introductory offer.

Suggested Ages: 4+

Click the Crew banner for more reviews of this neat app.

Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Review Crew I was given this app in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Daily 2011

Somebody was asking me about about my December Daily book that I mentioned in my last post.  It is the brain child of digital designer Ali Edwards. Basically it’s just a small photo/scrap book documenting the holidays.  You can read about it on her site.   Her books are a cross between traditional scrapping and digital.  Plus they are absolutely fabulous.  I try not to let her awesomeness sway me from attempting this.  I’m not even in the same scrapbooking galaxy as she is. 

I do mine entirely digitally.  This year I am mainly using quick album pages with some tweaking to suit my needs.  I just don’t have the time to do them from “scratch” this year. 

Last year, I printed out the pages myself and made the cover.  It was really cute considering I made it. lol I was also able to add in programs, letters from Santa, tickets, and such.   This year I’m planning on printing it as a shutterfly photo book, so the doodads will have to go into my project life binder.  I’m okay with that.

Here’s what I’ve done so far. 


Almost halfway there. Woot!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tot School: The One with Christmas and an Unfortunate Incident

Kayleigh is 3.75 years old

I know, I know...I have been a slacker blogger lately.  Life has been crazy busy and I just haven't been doing it.  I've been spending my evenings working on my December Daily book instead of blogging.  Not to mention adding more and more lights to our house because we're trying to keep up with the Jones' across the street.  For real.  Little Jones keeps coming over and talking smack about Christmas lights.  lol

Kayleigh has been working on Christmas School.  When she feels like it.  We've been picking and choosing activities from various Christmas Tot/Pre-k packs and a wonderful advent ebook called Truth in the Tinsel.   

Here's some of her happenings.  In no particular order.

She has had a "break through" in her writing skills.  By breatk through I mean that she finally decided to do what I wanted, and knew, she could do.  Instead of scribbling all over the lines she finally just sat down and traced them.  

The trick was to put them in page protectors and give her dry erase markers.  She has been writing and erasing for hours on end.  Over and over and over.  But now I don't have a paper to put in her preschool binder as a keepsake.  At least not yet.  I'm determined to get her to do one page on the actual paper so I can save it.  Anyone want to wager on how long that will take me?  LOL


Her she is working on her first Truth in the Tinsel craft.
I think it came out so cute.  She spent another hour just glueing tissue strips onto paper.  I'm not sure what her fascination was with them but it kept her quiet while I worked with her older sister.  That's always a blessing.

Here she is working on a puzzle from one of our many tot packs.

I got this puzzle from Oriental Trading for $5.  She loves it and has done it dozens of times.  This is the first time she's done this type of jigsaw puzzle and I was pleasantly surprised at how well she did with it.
These navity finger puppets are also from Oriental Trading.  They were a big hit too.

Here she is finding the one that is different.  She is getting really good with these and rarely needs any kind of help completing them.  She calls pages like this her "homework."  Because, as homeschoolers, we talk about homework all the time. I blame Disney and Nick Jr. lol

She received a letter for Santa in the mail.  If you knew her well you'd understand why she looks a little nervous.  Thankfully for her, I think Santa spikes his egg nog because she somehow, by the skin of her teeth, wound up on the good list.  That is what happens when you hit the nog too hard.  

Another Truth in the Tinsel craft.  She was supposed to be paint a crown.  As you can see below, the crown wasn't the only thing she painted.  Yet she freaks out if we try and paint her nails with nail polish.

Eventually they finished them though.  

She was worried about Rudolph's soul so she grabbed a few Bibles and they had a study session.  She drilled that poor reindeer for days.  He is now an expert on the serpent in the Garden of Eden and the birth of Jesus.  Those are her favorite stories from the Bible. I think it's moments like this that keep her on the nice list.

We made these angel ornaments from The Truth in the Tinsel.  By we made, I mean I made.  Jamming the pipe cleaners and the folded paper into the bell was not an easy task.  Therefore I received the honors.  They wound stringing bells on to pipe cleaners so that Clarisse and Rudolph would have collars.

They also made Mary ornaments.  It was a little stressful for me because it involved glitter glue.  Shudder!!!

We hit the Scholastic Warehouse sale.  Kayleigh was more interested in eating her snack but I managed to get her to spend a few minutes choosing some books.

She helped sissy make some French cookies called "columbe."  I believe it means dove.  Kayleigh was in charge of putting on the eyes.

Then later that evening, we had this unfortunate incident.  ROFL

A bit of a fit led to her making herself throw up, on her daddy, which led to daddy gagging too, which led to me laughing hysterically as I grabbed my camera.  I promise that I helped after I got the shot.  

The girls made a little candy.

And watched a Christmas movie with Daddy.

And we had our church's Christmas play.  Kayleigh played, oh so fittingly, a donkey.  So perfect and so right. LOL  Here she is with her class singing a little something special for you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...