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Teaching Textbooks

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!

Access ANYWHERE

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).

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

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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

Fluency

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

Vocabulary

  • 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

Comprehension

  • 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/

 

Typesy: Homeschool Typing Program Review

Our family received access to the Typesy homeschool program 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.

Maybe some of you are too young to remember this, but there was a point in time when a daily typing class involved big, ol’ clunky typewriters that didn’t have a delete key. And the noise of a room filled with the typewriters might drive you out of your mind. 

Thanks to those classes though, I was able to learn keyboarding and memorize the various keys on the keyboard. However, I will say that laptops these days are SO MUCH EASIER (and quieter). 

This past December we added an extra subject to our daily school time with our 6th and 8th grade boys: typing using the Typsey for homeschool. Both of the boys aren’t very fond of actual handwriting, so keyboarding will definitely be essential in the upcoming years.

Yes, our kids are using a keyboard of sorts when they text, but it’s not the same thing when it comes to using a laptop. They could hunt and peck, but it is much easier to have a firm understanding and establish muscle memory for each of the keys on the keyboard.

Bottom line – I am so thankful to have this product available to use with our kids. It is quick and easy to get started, very thorough in teaching accurate skills, and well-organized – a huge help for homeschool moms. And bonus? Your purchase of Typsey is good for FIVE YEARS!!

What Mom’s Need to Know About Typsey…

  • Use it anywhere – all information is stored in the cloud. No program to download or take space on your computers. Use it anywhere, anytime!

“Typesy stores everything in the cloud and all your computers automatically stay in sync. You get unlimited installs on all your Windows, Mac, iPad and Chomebook devices. Start training on one device, and continue right where you left off on the next. Students can log in on any device, anywhere, and anytime. And they instantly access the same account, results, and course progress.”

 

  • Can be used by multiple children – Each program allows various uses (there are different levels available). The program is tailored for each child as they progress through the program, adapting to their individual needs, providing tips and additional practice as needed.

 

  • Video training – units include step-by-step video teaching, effective exercises, and fun games. This is one area that is very helpful as well, as proper hand positioning is demonstrated, and the keyboard strokes are explained, an added bonus for visual learners.

 

  • Detailed reports can be run for each child, and include options for progress in multiple areas. One of the things I love is you can set word per minute (wpm) goals for each child and also accuracy goals. 

 

  • Includes 117 lessons and 17 games to help children learn, practice, and master various typing skills. Lessons are broken into different units that focus on specific areas of the keyboard: home row, top row, bottom row, shift keys, punctuations, numbers, and symbols.  
  • Ad-free typing – the entire site is 100% ad free. No distractions and clicks over to other sites, but lots of fun

 

  • Fun games and incentives – children are offered rewards for working toward and achieving their goals. They can also build their own avatar look-alike, earn points – and learn at the same time. 

Our Thoughts on Typesy

The boys have been using Typesy four times a week for about 15-20 minutes each day. The goals have been great for Kaleb, giving him incentives to work toward and maintain (he is a goal-driven kid). The games are also a fun addition to the lessons and continue the learning (sneaky). 

We added the program in just after our Thanksgiving break and will continue to use it the remainder of this year (and beyond). It is also a great “break” between subjects for the boys – even though Typsey is a definite part of our homeschool lessons (wink). The games and short lessons make it a great addition to our year. 

As a mom, I love that I can schedule lessons, quickly see progress, choose different fonts, and even see the keyboard on the screen as a child works on lesson. It is truly an amazing program.  

Try Typesy in Your Homeschool

It only takes a few minutes to get started on touch typing keyboarding with Typesy. They have several different plans from small family, large family, or even co-op! Typesy to get started with the best homeschool keyboarding program today! Don’t forget, your purchase of Typsey is good for FIVE YEARS!! That’s an amazing deal for a program that doesn’t need to be stored on your computer.

Win Typesy for Your Family! 

Typesy has generously offered one (1) Typesy Homeschool Keyboarding Curriculum to THREE (3) of our readers. Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win! The giveaway is open until midnight on Thursday, January 10, 2019. 

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LIFEPAC – History and Geography Review

Alpha Omega 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.

This year we had a little switch up in one of our curriculum choices. The vendor halls at conventions are always a place I love to browse and get a hands-on look at various companies and their products. I’ll admit that Alpha Omega isn’t typically a booth I visit – we’re in our thirteenth year of homeschooling and many of the pieces we use are already on our shelves. 

With our oldest three moving on to high school classes and using their own texts, our group history time has ended, and Kaleb, our sixth grader, needed something that would fit his learning style a little better. 

Enter Alpha Omega’s LIFEPAC History and Geography units.

For the few days at a homeschool convention this past spring, I reviewed the program, talked (a lot) to one of the representatives at the booth, and went home to talk with Kaleb about it. A short while later I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing LIFEPAC and decided we would love to give it a try.

A Little about LIFEPAC History and Geography

 

LIFEPAC History & Geography develops students’ understanding of and appreciation for God’s activity as seen in the record of man and his relationships. The LIFEPAC History & Geography worktext-based curriculum targets this goal by focusing on six major themes: Geography (World and American), History (World, American, and Religious), Government, Citizenship, Economics, and Social Sciences.

Our Thoughts on LIFEPAC History & Geography

As soon as our LIFEPAC arrived, Kaleb and I sat down to go through the set so he could get a good grasp on how the upcoming year looked. One thing we both love is the way each set is broken up into ten individual units to go through over the course of the year. For our boy who struggles with being overwhelmed by a lot of text, the breakdown into smaller chunks was right away a huge plus

Kaleb’s reading struggles were one of the primary reasons that I personally wanted to make the switch to LIFEPACs. I knew he would enjoy the format (he is a fill-in-the-blank kind of boy), but being able to break the reading up into smaller daily bites with a visible end is definitely something that encourages him to keep going. 

Each unit and sections within the unit begin with clear objectives and vocabulary words for kids to focus on throughout their reading. These have been handy for us to refer back to through the reading and review times. Download a sample of the History & Geography LIFEPACs here

The text is broken up into segments that are followed up with various forms of review activities (fill in the blank questions, true/false answers, multiple choice, etc…) so children can see what they are learning. Each LIFEPAC unit is broken up into smaller sections. Each section then has a short self-test to review all that has been studied.

Once the individual LIFEPAC is completed, there is an overall test for that unit (see the video for further explanation). The test is included in the center of each unit and can be removed prior to children starting. 

All LIFEPACs are full of color and while I know I’ve mentioned it before, we love the “grab and go” aspect of this curriculum. Because the text is broken up into smaller books, it’s easy to pull the one we are working with and not worry about grabbing a huge textbook. 

The smaller units allow for a feeling of accomplishment as one is completed, giving both Kaleb and myself an added bump of encouragement. We are currently ten weeks through our school year and already working through unit 5 – ahead of schedule! 

Although he hasn’t been working through the reading on his own yet (we typically trade off reading paragraphs), the format would be great for kids that can work more independently: they could read the text and answer questions on their own. Personally I enjoy reading the text along with Kaleb and making sure he is understanding everything (and let’s face it, sometimes there are words I can’t even pronounce!). :) 

Over the years, we have only used a few pieces of curriculum that are not reusable (or reproducible), so while the workbook layout is a bit of a switch for us, right now the convenience of the program is definitely a plus and one we are planning to continue using. 

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Teacher’s Guide – The teacher’s guide provides an overview on how the LIFEPACs are laid out, along with additional teaching tips and extensions for each unit, answers to all of the unit questions, and alternate unit tests. Give yourself 10-15 minutes to read through the first section and get a handle on the set.
  • No experience needed – All of the answers are provided in the teacher’s guide in addition to helpful discussion questions, tips, and lesson plan layouts. It’s truly an “open and go” curriculum. 
  • Scope and Sequence – Alpha Omega provides LIFEPACs in a variety of subject areas, and each LIFEPAC shares the scope and sequence for that specific subject.
  • Christian Worldview – Text is written from a Christian worldview.

Start Learning With LIFEPAC

Visit Alpha Omega (aop.com) to learn more about LIFEPAC and other curriculum options offered. Recommended ages for the LIFEPACS begin in kindergarten and extend through high school – choose the level that best fits your child’s learning.

Don’t forget to download the sample of the History & Geography LIFEPACs here for full information on what is covered at each level.