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World Watch News – Current Events and News for Families

World Watch News is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Talking about current events, especially when it involves politics, isn’t typically something at the top of my list. Do I try to stay on top of what is happening in the world around us? Absolutely. However, when it comes to getting my kids involved – well, that’s where things get a little more iffy.

More and more, we are inundated with news stories on every known topic and from a variety of views and opinions. Some of those news stories involve difficult or sensitive issues, and of course we don’t want our children stumbling onto something inappropriate. That said, we do want our kids to be aware of what is happening in the world around us and intelligently take part in conversations about important topics.

This year, the boys and I have started watching a new subscription-based video program: World Watch News. The program is targeted toward middle and high school students (younger students may participate as well, but parents may want to watch a few episodes before everyone jumps in). We are really enjoying the format and have found a few ways to use the 10-minute weekday program to add learning opportunities to our homeschool day.

What Families Need to Know about World Watch

In each weekday 10-minute video segment, viewers learn about a variety of topics: science, technology, politics, arts and culture, politics, natural disasters, and more. The stories are short, but well-developed, allowing students the opportunity to hear top news stories and discuss opinions after hearing the news briefs.

WORLD Watch delivers the news with age-appropriate current events, including issues ranging from science and technology, business and economics, natural disasters, military action, family and society, arts and culture, politics, and more. The program is the newest offering from the trained Christian journalists and editors at WORLD News Group, a news organization producing daily coverage of global, national, and cultural current events, with news stories and commentary grounded in facts and biblical truth.  

Parents will enjoy watching the series alongside their children as well (in fact, I would recommend it). Set aside some time each day to talk about at least one of the stories in depth with your children.

Be sure to watch my video review as well, where you’ll see a bit of the site and can hear my thoughts in person – because sometimes it’s nice to hear instead of just reading!

Our Thoughts on World Watch News

The daily segments have opened up some great conversations between the boys and myself regarding some of the recent news stories (COVID-19, wildfires in California, Supreme Court justices, and our upcoming election). Even though we’re all in the same family, we do have some different perspectives on issues, so this has been a good exercise in sharing differing views with grace as well.

Each day’s news segment include some “feel-good” portions as well, looking at stories that are happening around the world. Over the last several weeks, they have covered the restoration of Michelangelo’s Bandini Pieta, street-side classes in India, the US Open, and a look at the jury systems in the United States.

In addition to watching and discussing the program together daily, we’re using World Watch News to work on writing activities with our boys. After the program is over, the boys take a few minutes to summarize their thoughts on our daily news summary sheet (see end of post for the download).

For us, this has been a great way to “see” how the boys are interpreting what’s happening in the world around and also discuss how friends or others are viewing the same situation. While we don’t want our kids to just mimic us and our beliefs, we do want them to dig deeper and understand WHY they believe what they believe, and we are thankful we have the opportunity to be a part of that process!

One thing that I appreciate, especially with all the crazy that seems to be happening lately, is WorldWatch.news always brings the focus back to the key point: “Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand.” No matter where you stand on issues right now, that alone is a gentle reminder and encouragement to me each time – and there are many days I need to repeat it.

In short, do we love it and recommend it – yes. And we’re positive it would be a great addition to your home as well.

Start World Watch in Your Home!

Families can start their World Watch News subscription with a monthly option ($9.99/mo) or a yearly subscription ($79.99/yr).

Homeschool Creations readers will receive a SPECIAL limited-time rate of $69.99/year using THIS LINK.

Want a look at how WorldWatch.news is put together? Be sure to visit them on these platforms for video clip samples as well as a full episode:

WorldWatch.news | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook

Recommended ages: middle and high school. Parental pre-viewing is recommended for lower grades – you know your kids and what they are ready for. :)

Download the News Summary Printable

If you’d like to add WorldWatch.news to your daily homeschool time and also use the printable news summary we created, feel free to download it by clicking below!

Grammar for Writers from Compass Classroom (Review)

Disclaimer: We received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details.

Grammar is admittedly not everyone’s favorite subject to teach. I will say that I DO enjoy it. It’s the English major in me rearing its diagramming-loving head.

That said, for those who do NOT enjoy teaching it, finding resources to help high school students in this area, especially ones that are engaging, can be difficult. Fortunately, Compass Classroom recently released a new program, Grammar for Writers, that may be the answer for some homeschool families.

Grammar for Writers is a video-based, self-paced course designed to help students and writers analyze their own writing, diagnose problems, and write better sentences.

The course builds on a native speaker and reader’s instinctive understanding of language in order to demystify English grammar and sentence structure. The course provides very concrete tools to analyze, diagnose, and repair writing problems.

How We Are Using Grammar for Writers

The lessons each begin with a video component and then are often followed up with a worksheet/quiz for review. Students can read along in the book and highlight if they desire.

Typically Zachary watches the video lesson and completes the quiz the same day, sometimes the next day depending on our timeframe. Not every lesson has a quiz to go along, so there are weeks we work through an additional lesson. Our overall goal is to complete at least three lessons in a week.

Several lessons can easily be worked on each week so the course can be completed in a semester. We had some catching up to do in a different subject area and were down to one or two lessons weekly for a stretch of time, so we won’t quite finish it before Christmas although we are steadily working.

If you’d like to relax the pace a bit, you can easily complete one or two lessons each week and extend the program over the course of the year. Personally I wouldn’t recommend this (just so the content stays “fresh”), but it would allow for the program to be combined with another 1/2 credit class for the year (we are using it in conjunction with Grammar of Poetry during the 9th grade year).

Ultimately, the scheduling part is really flexible for families. Since the class is either DVD or streaming based, you choose when to watch the lessons and complete the program.

A Quick Peek

Here’s a sample lesson from the first unit that will give you an idea on the teaching style of the lessons and what to expect.

  • 41 lessons video lessons (6.75 hours total)
  • Lecture Notes (transcriptions of the videos) in a PDF
  • Quizzes for almost every chapter in PDF form or in the printed book
  • A teacher key for the quizzes

Our Thoughts (and for You to Know)

Over the years we have used various grammar programs and, thanks to my love of grammar, our kids have worked consistently on their grammar skills, because I personally believe it is one of the most important areas to focus on in learning – i.e. so much that we do in other subject areas relies on our knowledge of grammar.

No matter what field our children end up working in, we want to ensure they have a solid foundation in writing and grammar.

We have some children that love (and excel) in the area of grammar and some that could take it or leave it (honest truth). Pretty sure that’s true for most of us in life. You either love the nitty-gritty stuff or you just want to be done with it.

Grammar for Writers offers a program that is more engaging than your typical workbook format. Through the video portion, the instructor, Jonathan Rogers, is very straight forward but keeps viewers interested. Each of the lessons is written out in the workbook as well, providing a way for students to follow along in the book as they watch the lesson.

Getting started with this writing and grammar program is very user-friendly. With the lessons on DVD or streaming, you can quickly pop in the first lesson and get going. We recommend ordering the spiral-bound book (we also have a PDF copy and print the quizzes off so the book isn’t written in).

Although the lesson is written out in the go-along workbook, I highly recommend watching the lessons, as tempting as it may be to only use the book, because there are times that hearing the context is important to fully understanding.

Periodically there are quizzes that follow the lessons (there is an answer key at the back of the book if you need some help). Most quizzes are relatively short and take under ten minutes to complete.

I honestly wasn’t sure that Zachary would like this program as much as he does. When we sat down to review how he feels it is going so far and get his input, he mentioned how much he enjoys the lectures and felt the instructor explains things very well (this is coming from the teen who wasn’t as strong in the grammar department earlier).

A few more thoughts:

  • Although they are labeled quizzes, most of the quizzes are really more of a wrap-up to the lesson to gauge where the student is – so more of a worksheet, if you will.
  • Jumping in to start the program is super easy – pretty much open and go!
  • Lessons are fairly short overall – an average of 7 or 8 minutes, but they vary in length.
  • There are a few lessons that can be subjective, for lack of a better word, when students are asked to re-write sentences to make them more concise or clear. On those lessons, Zachary and I talked through the quiz/worksheet together.
  • Some terminology for parts of speech may differ from what a child has learned, but s/he will quickly adapt (subject/verb vs. subject/predicate or “main line”).
  • Kids with a base in Classical Conversations or a similar homeschool teaching style will LOVE this program.
  • Moms who would like a little bit of a break and enjoy a solid teaching program will enjoy this program immensely. :)
  • If your child does not have a strong grammar background, this may not be the program for you. It is more from the approach that your child will have some understanding going into the program.
  • Personally I would love to see this fleshed out even more, whether through additional writing assignments/rubrics to create a full credit program, but for now we will settle with combining it with Grammar of Poetry during the 9th grade year for a full high school credit.

Our overall impression from using the program this year – this is a SOLID program for high school students. With an engaging instructor, in-depth lessons, it would be an asset to a homeschool family and a great half-credit option for high school.

Learn More about Grammar for Writers

Visit Compass Classroom to learn more about Grammar for Writers and other curriculum options offered. We recommend pairing this class with Grammar for Poetry (1/2 credit) in the 9th grade to round out a full high school credit.

  • Recommended ages: high school or upper middle school
  • Credit: 1/2 high school credit
  • Formats offered: DVD, Digital (Streaming), or DVD & Digital with a PDF materials or Printed (spiral-bound) materials

Don’t forget to download the sample of Grammar for Writers here for full information on what is covered in the program.

5 Reasons to Make the Switch to Teaching Textbooks Online

{disclaimer ~ this is a sponsored post in partnership with Teaching Textbooks}

It’s been nine years since our family made the switch to Teaching Textbooks and just over a year since we started using Teaching Textbooks 3.0, the online version of their program. While the academic content is the same, the 3.0 version offers additional perks to the traditional book and CD-rom method we have grown to love. 

Using Teaching Textbooks was a game changer for our family. We went from went from literal tears and frustration with math to happy kids who thought math was fun. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if the online version was going to be a good fit for our family (and I may have balked a little bit at that new-fangled option), because I’m typically a pencil and good-old-fashioned-book kind of girl. 

But after a year using the online subscription-based 3.0 version I can honestly say we are even more in love with this incredible program. We have used Teaching Textbooks from Math 3 all the way through Pre-Calculus – read on to see why the 3.0 version has us hooked!


We’ve had quite a bit of sports-related travel in the last year with our boys and guess what? Math can be accessed anywhere we go, since most everywhere has wifi now (insert an evil *little* laugh here). No need to bring separate books or disks for anyone. One laptop and we are ready to work on math.

In addition, at home our kids typically work from different computers which means (with the physical disks) each year I had to reload the program onto a different computer. There was also the year one of our kids went through two hard drives on her laptop. With the 3.0 version, all the math levels are stored online and can be accessed from any computer in the house, and no disks need to be loaded or programs transferred from year to year. 

No Disks or Books

In the past, our boys were famous for misplacing their math disks. Or wrecking their textbooks. Teaching Textbooks 3.0 has been a fabulous solution for us because there is nothing to lose – everything is digital. This may seem trivial, but guess what we can never find when we need to flip back to a past lesson to review a concept – our textbook!

The 3.0 online version has an ebook that can be viewed in a different browser window or even printed off if you choose. One thing I love about this: I can pull up a browser on my computer, flip back to a specific lesson, and we can review and work on a problem on one of the kid’s computers. More than one person can be logged into the account at a time – hello, wonderful!

Grade Storage

We won’t talk about how many computer issues we’ve had over the years and how many hard drives I have in a drawer (for real).  With the 3.0 version, Teaching Textbooks stores your grades for you, even after your subscription is over. You don’t have to worry about where that grade book disappeared to – they’ve got you covered. 

As a parent of four, I absolutely love that my parent home page allows me to see all of the kids at a glance, including past levels. There’s not logging in/out of different levels because it’s all conveniently in one location. 

Also, did I mention that Teaching Textbooks does the grading for you? The program grades each question as your child completes it, giving instant feedback, and also provides a digital gradebook which can be printed off at the end of each section or as a whole. 

No Disk Drive Needed

When our oldest started taking classes at the community college, we needed to get her an inexpensive lightweight laptop and opted for a Chromebook without thinking that all the way through. With no disk drive or storage capacity, she was working from two different computers until Teaching Textbooks 3.0 Online was released. 

All of the Teaching Textbooks 3.0 programs work on MAC, Windows, and Chromebooks. Tablets and phones can be used as well with the Puffin browser (3rd party browser, support limited). For our family, the Chromebook aspect has been HUGE this past year. The full Teaching Textbooks 3.0 was one of the few programs we didn’t have any issues with! 

Completed Lesson Notifications

A more recent feature that has been added is the lovely “Completed” notification next to lessons that have been finished 100%. I have to say, this is one of my FAVORITE new features that has been added to the program. Prior to this update, the parent had to do a little more digging in the grade book to see if a lesson was 100% completed, but now – there isn’t any hiding if a kiddo “forgets” to do a problem. I’m going to assume it’s not just one of my boys that likes to try this…and maybe this would be helpful in your home too

There are so many other features to love about Teaching Textbooks 3.0 and you can read our full thoughts on it here, but if it’s something that has piqued your interest – keep reading to see how you can try it for free!

Try Teaching Textbooks 3.0 for FREE

If you’d like to test out the 3.0 version, you can start a Free Trial of the complete program, up through Lesson 15. The trial includes lectures, solution, eBook, and grading on each of the products. If you decide to purchase the full version, everything transfers over for you! 

And bonus – you can try ANY and EVERY level. They are that generous! Learn more HERE. 

Not sure where to start? Download and print a placement test online. 


Tools for Teaching Sight Words, Homophones, and Early Reading

I See, I Spell, I Learn is a blog sponsor and we received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. All opinions expressed are my personal, honest opinions. You can read my full disclosure policy for more details.

There are certain words in the English language (who are we kidding – a LOT of words) that require quite a bit of decoding for kids. Certain words are rule breakers, meaning they don’t follow the typical phonics rules, and then when you add in homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently), it can be overwhelming for children. I See, I Spell, I Learn offers early literacy materials to help children tackle and learn tough words through the use of visual clues. 

Recently our family (and friends) were sent the Reading and Spelling Program for Homeschoolers from I See, I Spell, I Learn to review and share with our readers. While all of our children are reading, we were able to work on some of the reading materials with a friend’s daughter and we are also using the sight word cards, homophone cards, and workbooks with our youngest son. 

Don’t forget to read all the way through for a 10% coupon code! 

I See, I Spell, I Learn Program Overview & Sequence

I See, I Spell, I Learn® products support early literacy in children. They have been tried and tested on emerging readers (4-8 years). Research shows that children are more successful using these learning products as they are visually engaging and fun to use. Created by a reading specialist and dyslexia tutor who has worked with homeschooled children, this specific program has been designed to complement any homeschool literacy curriculum. 

The Reading and Spelling Program for Homeschoolers includes phonics workbooks, sight word picture cards, sight word storybooks, homophone picture cards, and homophone workbooks. We were able to use the picture card sets along with the storybooks during our review, later adding in the workbooks for additional practice. 

Picture Sight Word and Picture Homophone Cards

The program is intended to use in a step-by-step process, and for those who have visual learners, the picture word cards are sure to be a huge hit. The words have been taken from Dolch Sight Words lists (Pre-K to 3rd grade). Each of the three sets has 25 words starting at a beginner level in Set 1 to an advanced level in Set 3.

The Picture Sight Word cards can be used in a variety of ways. Each card features the sight word along with a creative rendering of the word (the word “one” shows a one-eyed smiley face, while “now” shows the letter “o” wanting something “NOW”. On the back side of each card is a simple text of the word as well as the word used in a sentence, with the focus word highlighted in color. Children work on three cards at a time and their purpose is to help link the shape of the letters to the picture cue or phrase. 

“The visual cues used in our Picture Sight Words™ and Picture Homophone™ cards serve a purpose – they help children make neurological connections with the word which help them retain that word which, until now, was impossible to remember!”

One of our children struggles with spelling many key sight words, so we are implementing the Picture Sight Words and Picture Homophone cards with him for the remainder of our year to help him in his writing. 

The Picture Homophone™ cards are some of my personal favorites, mainly because I love the word play – but homophones can be so very confusing for kids. There are two homophone sets (see the below list for included words). Similar to the Picture Sight Word cards, the front of the cards offer a picture clue for the word with a go-along sentence on the back side to help with context. Children use the cues to help remember the spelling of the different words, and also understand the meaning of the word. Can you visualize the word “dew” now? 

Picture Homophones Set 1 contains 33 cards:
ate, eight, blew, blue, buy, by, bye, for, four, hear, here, hour, our, knew, new, knot, not, know, no, one, won, sea, see, son, sun, than, then, their, there, they’re, to, too, two

Picture Homophones Set 2 contains 33 cards:
Cell, sell, cent, scent, sent, dew, do, due, die, dye, flour, flower, hair, hare, hole, whole, mail, male, pail, pale, right, write, sail, sale, sew, so, sow, tail, tale, threw, through, which, witch


Early Literacy Story Books

There are three different levels in the Early Literacy Readers from I See, I Spell, I Learn. Each reader follows the same format: sight word introduction, story, and a short activity.

  • Words used in the stories only contain short vowels and the sight words that have been learned. No sneaky silent “e” or long vowels to throw them off in the stories, so stories can be decoded and read quickly, building confidence. 

  • The background of each story has color to help with visual difficulties – no glare for children.

  • At the start of each story a list of sight words used in the story is provided so children can review the words before beginning.


  • At the end of each story there is a short activity for children to complete – copying a few sight words, drawing a picture, etc…

As the levels progress, the font decreases in size and increases in difficulty. Each level can be purchased as a set or as individual ebooks via Kindle. Level A includes ten stories, Level B includes fifteen stories, and Level C includes five chapter stories.  Characters are continuous through the stories too, which helps children engage with their stories and progression.


Digital App and Workbooks

Two additional digital products are also a part of the program: an interactive app and worksheet sets. Our family hasn’t been using them to their full extent yet, but we want to make sure you are aware of their various features. 

The Picture Sight Word app is available in the app store and features digital sets of the cards. Each set is color coded to match the physical copies, but they have a few additional features: children can hear the word spoken and spelled on the front side and then flip the card by touching the word and hear the go-along sentence read as well. Progress on the words can also be tracked by the parent as the child listens to the words and sentences. 

The Picture Sight Word app with the first six cards free, and the remaining cards can be purchased in-app.

Short vowel workbooks and picture sight word workbooks are also a part of the Reading and Spelling for Homeschool program. As I work with our youngest on various sight words that still trip him up with spelling, he has been completing the two go-along worksheets for each word. On the first page he traces and writes the word several times and on the second sheet he fills the missing letter (the one that is illustrated on the card) and also completes several sentences using the focus sight word. 

Note: At the time of this review, workbooks for Picture Sight Word set 3 and Picture Homophones set 2 are still in progress.

Short Vowel Workbooks are also available and designed with a phonics-based approach where children can work on matching a picture to the simple word they sound out. Each of the words in this five workbook series features only short vowels. The workbooks have 12 worksheets in each and increase in difficulty with each level. Worksheets can be printed off and put into a sheet protector to re-use and continue practicing until mastery and moving on to the next step. 

What Moms Need to Know About the Program…

Above you can take a short video peek into the story books and also see the cards. 

  • The picture cards are durable – each card has a protective coating and is printed on thick cardstock. They will last being handled by children. 
  • Each set of picture cards is color-coded, helping you figure out which set they belong in. No worries if they get mixed up. 
  • Materials can be used independently or with another program you are currently using. If you feel your child needs a little extra boost, this is a great addition!
  • Worksheets can be reused if you slide them into a sheet protector (per the company’s suggestion!)
  • The program also has go-along apps. If you have children who love technology, check out their apps – they read the words to you and also track your child’s progress.

Personally, I love that we can incorporate components of this program into our current homeschool day and add in extra practice, but in a different form/method, helping reinforce the skills our son has already attained or needs a bit of extra help in mastering. As our son’s confidence in his reading and spelling abilities grow, and as his proficiency grows, we’ve helped create a winning environment for him – and that’s something I love to see happening! 

Learn more about the full Reading and Spelling Program for Homeschoolers from I See, I Spell, I Learn or the individual components here: 

Save 10% on I See, I Spell, I Learn

Until June 30, 2019 you can save an additional 10% at the I See, I Spell, I Learn online store using promo code: HOMESCHOOL2019 (expires 6/30/19).


Also, save 10% in their Amazon store using the promo code 10HOMESCHOOL



Connect with I See, I Spell, I Learn

Follow along with program developments for I See, I Spell, I Learn using the links below: 

10% coupon code to use on our online store – PROMO CODE: HOMESCHOOL2019 Valid till June 30, 2019
10% coupon code to use at the I See, I Spell, I Learn Amazon store – PROMO CODE: 10HOMESCHOOL. 

All About Reading 4 – Full Color Version (Review)

Our family received access to the full color AAR Level 4 in exchange for our review. All opinions are our honest thoughts and we have been using the program for years during our school time. Please see our disclosure policy.

A little over a month ago, All About Learning Press released an update to All About Reading Levels 1-4 – and truly, they are stunning! What was already an amazing product and tool for homeschool families has stepped up to the next level and is now full-color – both inside and out! 

I can honestly tell you all that we have owned all of the products from All About Reading and All About Spelling, use them daily, and love them tremendously. Their curriculum is one of the first that really got me excited about teaching and I KNOW that they are getting solid teaching using the programs! But – enough about that – I cannot wait to share the updates that have been made to their reading program!

Our previous All About Reading Reviews:

Introducing the *Updated* All About Reading 4

All About Reading is a step-by-step reading program for children and uses a multisensory approach. Lessons are sequential in order, building on material  learned in prior lessons and levels, and ensure that your child is fully grasping concepts and successful in reading before moving on. Just because the lessons and levels build on each other though, doesn’t mean you can’t jump in at any time. We’ve had kids that have worked through every level and some that have gone through only a few.

If you have used any of the All About Reading levels in the past, you are well familiar with the cute graphics, well laid out lesson plans, and the hands-on learning the program provides. The only thing the program didn’t provide was full-color print. 

Previously all of the go-along activities, book illustrations, and even the teacher’s manual were available only in black and white. Until now. (Insert happy dance).  While I love, love, love the color illustrations in the readers – can I pause for a moment and share my *joy* with the full-color teacher’s manual??

The teacher’s manual alone is so much bigger than it used to be (thanks to the paper quality). The content though is the same step-by-step lesson plans, just in full color, ready for you to literally open the book and start teaching your child. 

For those of us who are visual learners, this manual is flat out amazing. Seeing what color the cards are, letter tile colors, and even pages in the activity book helps so much, especially when you get into the upper levels of reading and add in extra letter tiles with new colors. 

The readers have so much to love. In addition to their colorful illustrations, they all feature whimsical stories you won’t find anywhere else. These aren’t your “cat sat on a mat” type stories – they are funny and include lots of concept review. In addition, the illustrations don’t give away what the story is about, limiting kids from word guessing – they have to focus in on their decoding and reading skills. 

While I loved the classic look of the black and white illustrations in the previous version of All About Reading, these hardcover readers are so much more engaging than before (and that’s a good thing for those picky kiddos). They are still the same compact size, fitting perfectly into kid’s hands, and lay flat when open for reading. 

What Comes with the Level 4 Program

The All About Reading Level 4 Kit comes with the following items:

  • Level 4 Teacher’s Manual
  • Level 4 Student Packet {includes word cards and an Activity Book}
  • Heirloom Antics reader
  • The Voyage reader

You will also need a Reading Interactive Kit to complete the program. Choose between the Deluxe Reading Interactive Kit {$43.85} or the Basic Reading Interactive Kit {$21.85} ~ or buy the pieces individually. The reading kits are a one-time purchase and will be used in all levels of the program.

A peek at what’s covered in AAR Level 4

Decoding (Phonics)

  • Learn phonograms EY, EAR, UI, IE, PH, GU, GN, AUGH, EI, OUGH, SI, MB, OUR, CI, and RH
  • Read words containing the new phonograms, such as honeyearlyjuicefieldphaseguestgnatdaughterbeigeroughmissioncombjourneyspecial, and rhyme

Decoding (Structural Analysis)

  • Decode multisyllabic words
  • Read words with multiple suffixes, as in thankfully
  • Read words with a variety of suffixes, including -ible-able, –ance-ence-sion-ic-al-ous-ist-ism-ity-ize-ary, and -ery
  • Read words containing unaccented syllables, as in pirateAlaska, and doctor
  • Read words with silent letters, as in half and comb


  • Read with accuracy
  • Read with meaningful expression
  • Read with natural phrasing


  • Discuss new words in the context of the story and one’s own life
  • Explore varying dialects and regional language
  • Understand homonyms and heteronyms
  • Understand synonyms, antonyms, onomatopoeia, alliteration, idioms, personification, acronyms, and hyperbole
  • Explore words containing influences from Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian


  • Connect text to one’s own experiences
  • Read stories with alternating points of view
  • Make predictions and inferences
  • Compare and contrast main characters and stories
  • Discuss main conflict and character transformation
  • Skim for specific information
  • Discuss shades of meaning
  • Summarize the text


Our Thoughts on All About Reading 4

Our youngest, Kaleb, has struggled with reading from the beginning, and All About Reading has been a great fit (and help) for both of us. We’ve tried to add in additional things over the years, but they only end up confusing him more. 

The steps and rules in All About Reading help continually reinforce what he has already learned and build on his learning. While we have already worked through and finished Level 4 last year, we decided to go through it once again to build Kaleb’s reading confidence. He struggles with rushing through things and then freezes and gets flustered when he realizes he doesn’t have it right. He KNOWS the rules and has a solid base, but needs to realize 

The beginning of the book offers a mini “test” of sorts to see if your child is ready for the level. You can also try out their online reading placement tests to find the correct level for your child. 

One thing we love about the reading programs from All About Learning Press are the hands-on activities and manipulatives that go along with each level. Each interactive kit includes Letter Tiles, Magnets, the Phonogram Sounds App, and Divider Cards. (This is a one-time purchase and can be used with all levels of All About Reading.)

Probably the most time-consuming (and we’re talking about 20-40 minutes depending on what you decide to do) is the pulling apart of the phonogram and word cards that are a part of the student packet. (It’s here that I will note: I timed myself and came in just under 20 minutes to organize them – they are perforated and tear apart easily. If you decide to use the letter tiles, magnets need to be added to the back of each tile. You can alternately choose to use the Letter Tiles app instead.)

We alternate between the whiteboard with letter tiles and the letter app – and then sometimes just use our BoogieBoard or paper to work on any concepts we are learning. In just the few short weeks we have been working through Level 4, it’s already made a huge impact on his confidence in reading and his reading aloud. Reviewing the concepts and refreshing the phonics rules has given him time to pause, recall, and slow down as he reads. 

Each level of All About Reading also uses a go-along student activity book. Children can tear out the pages and complete the activity, making a great hands-on/tactile addition to the lesson. Below is a quick video clip inside the Level 4 Student Activity book. 


Things for Parents to LOVE

  • The bulk of the components are non-consumable (only the Activity Book and the stickers cannot be used again). This means that you will be able to use the program with your younger children and just grab a new activity book. 
  • Pre-planned lessons ~ taking extra time to plan lessons is tough, so let the book do the work for you. You can literally open the book and start teaching since all the lessons have been laid out for you.
  • Minimal prep-work. The word cards are perforated, but need to be torn apart (took me 20 minutes – I times it), and the letter tiles need to be assembled with magnets. Once that is done, you can grab your manual and go. Or you can save a step and use the new letter tiles app instead of the tiles.
  • The Go Ahead and Use It One-Year Guarantee’. You and your child have a full year to try out the program! If you find that the curriculum does not meet your needs, simply return the materials at any time within one year of purchase for a full refund of your purchase price.



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A Few Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) 

Q: Will my current editions work with the new color edition?  
A: YES! If you already own a current version of All About Reading, there is no need to upgrade. The new Color Edition materials can be correlated seamlessly with the current black-and-white editions. Easy-to-use Correlation Guides for all levels will be available on our website after the new edition is released. The only exception to this is Level 1/1st edition which does not correlate with either the 2nd edition or the color edition.
Q: When can I order the All About Reading Color Edition?
A: We will begin accepting orders and shipping product on January 10, 2019. All About Reading orders placed before January 10 will be for the black-and-white version.
Q: Will you continue to carry black-and-white versions after the color edition is released?
A: No. Black-and-white editions of Levels 1-4 will only be available until January 9, 2019. After that date, we will give you the name of a retailer who still has black and white editions in stock.
Q: I just bought a level of the black and white version. Can I get the color edition instead?
A: Yes! Because of our 1-year money back guarantee, you can return your black and white version for a full refund (even if it’s partially used!) and order the color edition when it is released on January 10 at the new price. 

Wonder Crate Subscription Box – Sparking Curiosity in Kids

Our family received access to the Wonder Crate Bill Gates subscription box in exchange for our honest review, and I was compensated for my time writing the review. All opinions are our honest thoughts and we have been using the program during our school time. Please see our disclosure policy.

Learning through literature is one of my favorite ways for our kids to gain knowledge. When we can tie-in fun activities that go hand-in-hand with our reading and deepen our understanding on a topic – well, that connection can be priceless.

The past two weeks Kaleb has been working through a new subscription box called Wonder Crate, based on inspirational role models and providing activities that will spark curiosity in kids. We received Curious Minds to Build a Better Tomorrow: Bill Gates and You! 

Each Wonder Crate is based on three core areas – 

  1. A BOOK to Inspire – each Crate includes a book from the Who Is book series.
  2. Activities to Empower – fun activities to spark curiosity and connect children to their own possibilities.
  3. Ways to GIVE BACK – a portion of sales from each box goes to a child that is making a difference.


What’s Included in Wonder Crate

Wonder Crate is targeted toward kids that are 7-11 years old. Our youngest son is 12 (6th grade), but his current reading level is right on target for this program. EachWonder Crate includes the following: 

  • Who Was book to introduce kids to brave, forward-thinking role models.
  • Fun activities to spark curiosity and connect children to their own possibilities.
  • Stories of kids their own age that are making a difference.
  • A collectible “Roll Models” card game to make inner exploration FUN.
  • A subscriber email with additional resources and links to videos for families.

The first month of the subscription program also includes a metal carrying case and fun decorations for your Wonder Crate. 


Our Thoughts on Wonder Crate

I am a huge fan of the Who Is / Was series, and we have read through several of the books with our kids. For those that are struggling readers, they are a perfect length and not too overwhelming, but chocked full of great information on influential leaders in our world, both past and present. 

The first step for us was reading through the Who Is Bill Gates book that came in our Wonder Crate. Since we were learning about the life of Bill Gates, our activities focused on coding and computer activities: creating a binary code bracelet, creating our own games using scratch, the roll models game, and learning about the young inventor of the month who has created his own app.

The scratch activities were some of Kaleb’s favorite activities (mine too). Wonder Crate provided three step-by-step scratch programs for us to create from simple animation to an interactive game. 

Kaleb started with the simple animation scratch activity, and this is one that turned into a more extended activity for us. He used the card to create the animation and then decided to mix it up a little more by changing the background and having his character kick a ball into a goal. From there we added in an additional character and had them kick the ball back and forth as well as had the activity “reset” when we pushed a specific key on the keyboard. (I’ll admit that I was really having fun with this one too!)

The second scratch activity we worked on showed us step-by-step how to create an aquarium and animate fish to randomly swim across the screen. Kaleb learned how to add sound and change “costumes” on the fish, filling his aquarium with fish of various sizes.

Our crate also included an activity (and video link) to learn about binary code. Instead of spelling out his entire name, he chose his initials and made a smaller bracelet. 

Each Wonder Crate comes with the Roll Models game that isn’t quite as much about “winning” as it is about being more aware about our actions. Players roll a multi-sided die (many more than 6!), draws a card from the pile, and answers the challenge question. 

Each of the questions requires a little thinking and the opportunity for kids to share a real life experience and tie-in their learning. It’s a great opportunity for conversation and encouragement. Kids can earn points based on their answers, but we didn’t keep score – the conversation was better. 

Overall some of the activities were easy enough for Kaleb to complete on his own, but a few required a little more assistance from me (the scratch activities online, for example). Younger kids would likely need a little more assistance in working through their Crate, but truthfully I had just as much fun as Kaleb working through our Wonder Crate – and may have worked on one of my own animations when he was done.

Subscribe to Wonder Crate

Wonder Crate offers single crates, or a monthly subscription option of 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. Choose the option that works best for your family and your Wonder Crate will be on the way to your home! Bundled options offer additional savings if you choose to prepay. 

If your family is interested in adding Wonder Crate to your homeschool time, be sure to use the coupon code HOMESCHOOL and get 15% off a 3,6 or 12 month subscription. Please note – if you would like the Bill Gates Wonder Crate, orders must be placed by February 15, 2019.

Single boxes and tees are also available in their store https://www.wondercratekids.com/shop/all/