Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Reading Eggs

My wee babe has been recently been showing some interest in learning to read.  So it was very timely that we were given the chance to review a new, online reading program called Reading Eggs.  It is an interactive, online program that teaches letters, reading, comprehension, and spelling.

About Reading Eggs

From the Website:

Learning to read can be easy and fun.  Reading Eggs makes learning to read interesting and engaging for kids, with great online reading games and activities.

And it really works!
Children love the games, songs, golden eggs and other rewards which, along with feeling proud of their reading, really motivate children to keep exploring and learning.

Reading Eggs is as Easy as 1, 2, 3

Your child will:

1 – Learn

Learn essential reading skills by completing online lessons.
All lessons can be repeated as many times as needed. Repeating lessons is a good way for children to build long term memory and reinforce skills.

2 – Read

Read books online and at home.
Reading Eggs book packs make reading even more fun with real books, progress posters and stickers.

3 – Write

Complete writing activities in Reading Eggs Activity Books.
Reading Eggs Activity Books are a great way to extend reading into writing and they’re great fun too!

Our Experience

Kayleigh, being four, used the Starting Out lessons.  She started out on a learning path made of stepping stones, each stone representing a lesson.  Her lessons consisted of phonemic awareness, phonics, letter recognition, and sight words.  As she progressed through the lessons, she earned golden eggs that she could use for special games, accessories for her avatar, and furnishings for her "house."

Kayleigh really enjoyed the engaging characters and fun songs. You'll often find her singing her favorite songs from the lessons. She is always laughing when she is on the site. When she finishes each lesson she likes to spend time in the Playroom.  The Playroom is filled with additional games, books, "art", music, and other fun activities.

As a parent, I appreciate how simple it is to view your child's progress.  The dashboard is set up so that everything is at your finger tips.  With just a glance you can see your child's progress.  With one click, you can view a more detailed report.  It's just that easy.  It is also easy for a child to navigate.  After going through a couple lessons with me helping her, Kayleigh is now easily able to navigate through the lessons and the rest of the site all on her own.

And I have to say that she is learning.  We were at the library yesterday and they has some magnetic letters up on the wall.  She went right over and was able to name all the letter sounds that she had learned.  She tends to be very secretive about what she knows so it was quite exciting that she let us in on some of her knowledge.


Ages: 2-7 (The also offer Reading Eggspress for kids 7-13)
Pricing: monthly plans starting at $9.95, 6 months for $49.95, and yearly subscriptions for $75.  They also offer a 50% family discount with the 6 or 12 month plans.
Read more about the program HERE and don't forget to try two weeks for FREE!

Click the Crew Banner to read more great reviews!

Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to Reading Eggs for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.


We have a winner!!!

And the winner is....

Congratulations Kelly!!  I will email the Knowledge Quest company with your information and they will be contacting you with the membership info shortly.  


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tot School: F

 Kayleigh is 4

Raising Rock Stars

We were working on the letter F this week.  Our memory verse this week was one of my favorites, John 3:16.  It's a bit of a long one so we're going to need to work on that a little longer.  But boy was she happy about the length of the verse when it came time to cut out and tape it together.  It was nice and long!!  For whatever reason, she's been insisting on hanging her verses on the closet door in our school room.  Maybe she wants to admire the long ones and curse the short ones?  Either way, it cracks me up.  Surprisingly, she did a FABULOUS job coloring her verse sheet this week.  She took her time and tried really hard to stay in the lines. Weird, right?

All About Reading

This week she got to play her favorite AAR rhyming game, "Get Out of the Wagon."  Unfortunately, for me, this was one of those weeks were she only wanted to give the wrong answer and crack up at her wit.  AN-NOY-ING!  The craft this week was really cute.  She had to color the frog and then make "finger print fish" in the pond.  She did a great job coloring this too. It turned our really cute!  Maybe she's over her hatred of coloring.


This week we finished out little science unit about digestion and have moved on to animals.  We are currently reading our way through Our Animal Friends on Maple Hill Farm. Very cute!  The book is cracking her up with the way it describes the behavior of the animals on the farm.

The Rest

Let's see...She was practicing her name again on her Crayola Dry Erase Center.  Did the Letter F Dot Page from ABC Animals. For some reason we forgot to do our ABC Animals craft so we'll squeeze that in next week. She worked in several of her Kumon books, mazes, numbers, and folding.  From our Letter of the Week stash we did letter sorting, F magnet page, and fish measuring with Gold Fish.  Anything involving food is always a hit!  She worked on some fine motor skills by spooning marbles onto the back of a fish shaped bath decal.  She went "fishing" with our fish puzzle and did the frog and fish pages from our Button Art game.  Lastly she worked on fractions.  Not really.  I bought these neat magnetic fraction manipulatives for Mackenzie and Kayleigh wanted to play with them.  Why not? Fraction starts with f. lol

In other news, I am hosting a give away for a 3-month membership to Jump Start online.  Both my girls are really enjoying it and one membership is good for multiple children.  You can enter HERE.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With 'Tude

In our homeschool this week…

We are still enjoying are study on China.  We have been reading about Eric Liddell and it has been fascinating.  And we haven't really gotten to the good stuff in China.

Mackenzie and math have been aggravating me this week.  Read. The. Instructions. In. Their. Entirety.  Then do what they say. Thanks.  

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

It was a balmy 80 degrees on Thursday.  We went to the park with our peeps.

What’s working/not working for us…

The tween attitude.  It might be in someone's best interest to zip it.  

Lately, her Writing With Skill has been causing drama as well.  We might need to switch it up next year.  Seeing how the next level probably won't be out until 2013, it was most likely going to happen anyway.

To be positive, Sonlight Core 5 (or whatever it's called this week) has been the bomb.  Can't help but love it!  Cohesive and accurate maps.  The thrill never wears off.  

I’m reading…

Ephesians and Voyager (Diana Gabaldon).  Both re-reads.  =o)

In my life this week…

I am currently hosting a give away for a 3-month membership to Jump Start Online.  It's geared for 3-12 and you can create Jumpees for multiple children with one account.  Score!  Enter HERE.


Jump Start Online Review and Give Away!

My oldest daughter, Mackenzie, has been playing Jump Start computer games since she first learned how to work a mouse.  They have always been a favorite of hers.  My youngest hasn't had the pleasure of their games because we switched entirely to Mac computers and all of our games were for the pc. So when Jump Start contacted me asking if we'd like to review their Virtual Online World and there were shouts of joy throughout the house.  They had both seen the commercials on tv and were dying to try it out.

About Jump Start Online

From the website:   

JumpStart is a magical online world packed with friends, games and adventures! From training dragons to exploring lost islands, includes thousands of games and activities for kids ages 3-12. But what really sets JumpStart apart is our commitment to education. We believe that learning should be an adventure, not a chore. That’s why the games at are specially designed to make math, reading and critical thinking fun! After all, there’s no stopping a kid with a JumpStart!

By presenting a virtual world for kids, online virtual games give kids the opportunity to escape reality for a while and live it up in a virtual reality world. But these virtual worlds have proved to be beneficial for kids of all ages! With the number and kind of online virtual games available today, kids are learning about various things through these virtual worlds. From taking up avatars that represent them in the virtual world to carrying out various educational tasks and activities, virtual online games give kids to opportunity to express themselves. Be it virtual car games, pet games or adventure games, there are options for kids of all interests.

Today, with the impressive advancements in technology and the increasing popularity of online virtual games among kids, educational activities have also become an integral part of online games. Interactive in nature, online virtual games encourage kids to learn in a virtual reality setting that they can enjoy in the comforts of their home. Virtual worlds give kids the opportunity to carry out assignments and projects and learn new things.

Our Experience

It has been wonderful.  There are games for children of all ages.  Seeing as I have a four year old and a ten year old, that is great news!  There is a ton of games for both of them.  They were both able to create their own character under our one account.  In fact, you can create up to six.  How awesome is that for families with several children?

The set up was ridiculously simple.  Just create an account and then the kids can start creating their Jumpee.  It was easy enough that I didn't even need my 11 year old to explain it to me.  Mackenzie quickly got her and her sister up and running. They were able to choose how their Jumpee looked and name it.  The name selection is set up in such a way that your child is not using their real names. Safety first with Jump Start!

Once that is done they are ready to start exploring.  There are more than ten different areas for them to explore.  I spent the most time in Story Land, with my preschooler.  Story Land is meant for ages 3-5 and they work on basic preschool skills such as letters, shapes, and numbers all while meeting wonderful new friends.  The controls here can be set to the mouse only, which is perfect for a preschooler.  Kayleigh just has to point and click in the direction she wants to go and off her Jumpee goes.  It is super easy for her to navigate.  When your preschooler completes activities they earn story book pages.  When they collect all the pages to a particular book, they will find it in the library and will then be able to read it.  

There are also TONS of different activities for older children.  There are arcade games, learning games, racing games, flying games, treasure hunting games.  Pretty much anything you could think of.  Mackenzie's favorite area is Windy Hollows, which is a magical area reminiscent of Harry Potter.  You can make potions, fly on brooms, cast "spells" on other Jumpees.  Marine Land was another favorite for Mackenzie.  You get to complete underwater quests to earn pieces of sand dollars.  When you have collected 15 complete sand dollars, they make you an honorary mer-maid.  Mackenize is hooked!

Online gaming isn't all the site has to offer.  Jump Start also offers worksheets, holiday activities, and lesson plans.  A wealth of resources at your finger tips.  You can see all that Jump Start has to offer by clicking HERE.  Want to know whats up and coming with the company? Be sure to visit their blog.  

The Exciting News

Guess what?  Jump Start has graciously offered one of my readers a FREE three-month membership to Jump Start online.  How awesome!  Just enter by following the instructions below.  You can enter up to seven times.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

TOS Review: Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? (Apologia)

I have been a huge fan of Apologia's science programs for year.  This year I've read a few of their books and that made me appreciate the company even more.  I've loved everything I've used by them so far, so when I was given the opportunity to review their new Bible program, What We Believe, I was thrilled.  We were given the second book in the series, Who Am I?, and as soon as I opened the box I could see that it was the same high quality that you come to expect from Apologia products.  

About What We Believe

From the company's web site:

Our children are bombarded on a daily basis with competing messages. Every song, movie, book, TV show, blog, and game is full of ideas—ideas about truth, morality, beauty, identity, faith, and more. Not all of these ideas are true. Some are wrong, some are deceptive, and some are outright destructive. It is more important than ever that young children be equipped to discern among competing ideas and stand in the truth. This is why Apologia has teamed with Summit Ministries to bring you the "What We Believe" Series. The "What We Believe" Series is an outstanding way to teach your child the essential beliefs of the Christian faith, but it’s so much more! With this student-directed, Bible-based curriculum, your children will learn how to use Scripture as a lens through which to view the world around them—to see everything the way God sees it—and know the truth. 

 I couldn't agree more!  As the mother of two girls, I am not at all impressed with what society would deem appropriate for my daughters.  Skin tight clothing that reveals everything, no thank you.  An equal to adults attitude.  I don't think so.  Do what you have to do to fit in because anything goes.  Uh, NO!  When I saw that we were going to be getting the Who Am I? edition I knew that this was a gift from God.  What could be more perfect for my tween daughter then a study that shows her who she is in God.

The second book in the What We Believe series, Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?) helps children understand what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God. This study will enable students to develop a healthy self-image based on these biblical truths: God made me in His image and crowned me with glory; He has given me special gifts and a unique purpose in life; I can creatively express God's love; I am meant to think about beautiful and praiseworthy things, especially God and His Word; I must make decisions based on God's truth; I can always know the wise thing to do; I must cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in my life; I am a beloved child of God whose true identity is found in Christ.

Our Experience

My daughter has been LOVING this book.  We received the text, an audio version, a coloring book, and a fabulous note booking journal.  Mackenzie has taken to this like a duck to water.  As this is meant to be a student-directed study she has opted to do it on her own.  Each day she gathers her books, bible, and supplies and goes off to be my herself.  She does not like anyone to be around because she says that this is her private time with God.  Doesn't that just melt your heart?

Mackenzie's thoughts...

I LOVE it!  It makes me feel closer to God and that we are listening to each other more.  My favorite parts are the My Prayer pages in the journal.  I get to write it down and then I have it to look back on.  There is also a Praise Report that helps you see how God is answering your prayers and strengthening your faith.  It shows you how God is working in your life.  I like reading the stories about different children because it tells me about their beliefs and how God is helping them.  They also list different Bible verses in there and they connect me to God like He's telling me something.  It really helps me feel closer to God.

Well if that doesn't sell ya....

What did I think?  I was beyond impressed.  It is everything that you expect an Apologia product to be.  Like the science books, this book was written in a conversational format. My daughter really enjoys reading it and she is writing her heart out in the journal. Each chapter clearly states the learning objectives, includes memory work, encourages Godly character traits, asks thought provoking questions, and introduces different world views.  It is jam packed with lots of information for us to discuss together.

Needless to say, though the review period is over, this book is still well used in our house.  There are four other books in the series and I am already planning which one to use next.  The nice thing about the series is that you can use them in any order so you can pick the topic that best fits your family at that time.  

Age Range: 6-14
Pricing:  Book $39, Journal $24, Audio CD $19, Coloring Book $8

Click the Crew banner to read more reviews.  

Disclaimer: I received a copy of these products for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. 



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tot School: A Little Bit of Valentines

Kayleigh is 4 years old.  Wah!



Kayleigh wasn’t really in a school kind of mood this week so, once again, we didn’t do our normal routine.  Instead we did a few Valentines activities and had a birthday party for the girls. Here’s what we did do.

The girls made some Valentines treats and got some treats from Mommy and Daddy.



Our school time included some Valentine patterning with this set I got our of a Scholastic book order.  I remember doing this last year and she needed a lot of help.  Now she could do all the cards on her own, even the more complicated patterns.


She sorted capital and lower case V’s.  She practiced counting with this cute printable from Over the Big Moon.  We used heart “gems” and tongs to mark the correct answer.


We did some more candy heart activities including sorting and graphing.  Candy hearts and candy corns make up Kayleigh’s favorite school activities.


And that pretty much sums up her “schooling” for the week.  In other news, she pulled a fast one on her father.  Be sure to click the link and read about it. LOL  We also had a birthday party for the girls. They had a great time with their friends at the Little Gym.  And I enjoyed watching the fifth graders playing games with the preschoolers. LOL



Hope you all had a great week too!

StefanieSignature LW

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Tale of Two Critters

In Our Life This Week...

This morning I was playing with my four year old, Kayleigh, when she started talking about this puppy she wanted me to buy her.  "Just a wittle puppy.  Pwease."  Uh.  No.  So my older daughter, Mackenzie, pipes in with "I had dog once. And a cat, some fish, and a hamster. " Evil monster.
Kayleigh was, naturally, outraged.  "Where's my furry fwend?"   Well dear.  Mackenzie didn't have a sister to play with like you do, so she needed a furry friend.  Then Mommy decided that she didn't like them so they left.  Insert whining and pleading here.  Uh. No.  So I said that when Mackenzie goes away to college then maybe she could get a guinea pig or something.  Of course she'll have forgotten about that by then. lol
So Mackenzie gets all hopped up and they start looking at pictures of guinea pigs online.  Kayleigh is enthralled.  She finds one she "wuvs" and promptly names it Cherry.  That is "Cherry" to your right.  Lovely isn't she?  
By now I'm rofl because she is talking about it like she has it.   She talked about "Cherry"  all.  day. long.  For REALZ!  Then Kevin, my hubby, came home and she tells him all about Cherry the guinea pig that I said she could have.   Kevin was like what?  (I am nothing if not forthright with my loathing of animals in my home.  I'm not sure why, as I had tons of pets as a child.  Maybe that's why.  I know the work involved and there's no reward for me because I don't want a dog on my couch let alone on my lap. Too much extra vacuuming and febreezing.)  I said that I sure did say that she could have a guinea pig when Mackenzie went off to college and she was lonely for her sister.  
My husband, who doesn't want any animal's here either, is all...lets go look at guinea pigs and see what they're like. Hardy har har.
I didn't think that was a terrible idea because I figured she's be scared to death of it like she is with most critters.  Wrong!  That lady grabbed one of those fat little piggies and she was all over it.  "Oh Cherry. I wuv you so much." (Interestingly, "Cherry" didn't look at all the one she loved on the internet. Ha!) It was all she wrote for Kevin.  He has no backbone at all.  Sheesh!  They didn't even have to whine or plead. Such a light weight.
Me I would've told her heck no and then started taking pictures of her crying.  That's how I roll.  So now Cherry and Luna are living in Mackenzie's room.  Mackenzie gets the joy of cleaning their cage cuz I already did my time cleaning guinea pig cages as a child.  Ironically, Kevin won't touch them.  lol

As God as my witness, there are really, really, really the last animals that will be allowed to live with me.  LOL  Seriously.  I mean it.  

And because Mackenzie's earlier comments about the pets she's had led to this mutiny, I bought her a book on guinea pigs and she has to write me a report on them for "science."   Ha!



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