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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. 

Learning about Coding with EEME’s Uno Board

EEME 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. 

Just before the school year ended, we shared about Kaleb building Q the robot from EEME. We were then in the throes of packing for our European adventure and the day before we left, another box arrived from EEME for the Uno Board. 

One thing that can be frustrating about other STEM projects is you build it and that’s the end – nothing more. With Q the Robot though, EEME has created a series of projects that build on the framework of what your child has already started. The base remains the same and children essentially add more brains and smarts to their robots. 

That is a win-win!

The Uno Board is not a stand-alone project – meaning you cannot purchase just the Uno Board and have your child work on it. Children start by building the Q the Robot project kit, a 3-wheeled robot who follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photo resistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

The kids “beef up” their robots with (and I quote, because I could never in a million years say this) “an Arduino-compatible UNO microcontroller board”. With the Uno Board, concepts covered include:  

  • Coding programs for the UNO board
  • What a compiler does
  • A coding language called C++
  • What all those holes, pins on the UNO board do
  • How UNO powers up

Adding the Uno Board

EEME has FREE online lessons (anyone can view these!), and this is where we went to begin our work with the Uno Board. The first several lessons covered the components we needed for the project (all included), safety, familiarizing ourselves with the projects, and getting the board connected to Q the robot for programming. 

We divided the thirty video lessons for Uno Board into two segments over the course of two days. Each of the 30 videos range in length, but average time each day was a bit over an hour, taking us a almost 2.5 hours to complete the entire project. 

There are some super tiny screws and pieces that will require a bit of patience at times – completely doable, but just a heads up. :) 

One thing we had to do in the early stages was download some firmware to “test” and make sure our board was working correctly. This step took us a little bit of problem solving (all questions that were answered via their site), but because we had a Mac, we required a different patch for our test. Once we had that figured out, we were good to go! 

(The green light is a good thing.)

One thing to love about the video lessons is the way EEME dad ties in practical/real-life to help kids understand the terms. The above lesson is teaching about coding and broke it down by showing that coding is essentially giving kids the steps to a function. When parents ask you to work on morning chores (function), there are certain steps that define that function. 

The hardest area for us was more the actual coding. In this section, I will admit that we bypassed a little bit, but only after Kaleb and I talked through the coding. For kids to learn and understand how the coding works, EEME recommends that kids type through the coding – it is provided in a box above and kids copy it line by line. 

I 100% agree that we learn best by doing ourselves, but in this instance, Kaleb and I would go through it and I would have him point out the various functions. Because I had a broken arm at the time (and had limited use of the computer keyboard) and Kaleb struggles with typing, after we discussed the coding, we did copy/paste from the provided coding. For a few of them I would omit certain segments and have him point out where the errors were. That said, the program itself does recommend kids work through it step-by-step. We didn’t follow the directions. :)

Each time new coding is entered, there is an opportunity to test it to see what that specific coding does. Honestly, so fun. 

Above is a super short video clip Kaleb took showing the light sequence coding he worked on. 

Once the coding was completed, Kaleb mounted the platform onto the top of Q the Robot. Prior to this point, the Uno Board was connected but off to the side. 

This step was a little trickier at times because there are so many more wires now and he was trying to make sure everything stayed in place (he may have knocked one out by accident and had to backtrack to see how we had the wires connected). 

After about two hours and 15 minutes total – the Uno Board was fully mounted and working! 

And now – we’re ready to work on the next step with Q the Robot to make him even better! 

What I will say after this step – Kaleb is 11 and a bit of a perfectionist. He wants to have things done well and correctly, so there isn’t any rushing through. If something isn’t working right, he at times gets frustrated with himself, so I sat alongside for the lessons and helped him flip back through pictures we had taken to look and see how wires were connected if he accidentally unhooked something. 

If our older son (age 13) were working on this, he would not need the 1:1 help (he might as for a hand occasionally), but much of that is also personality differences as well. It can be done and may need to be broken up into smaller chunks as well. 

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Everything’s included – parts, wires, batteries are included in all every kit
  • No experience needed – the online lessons to mentor, guide, and teach your kid (seriously, this is a lovely thing)
  • Safety first – no soldering required, low voltage projects (the mom in me rejoices)

Meanwhile, kids are learning solid concepts and being challenged by building projects using REAL components. They may make mistakes, but in doing so, they learn to review and discover what they can do to make it better and work correctly. 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 2-2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child, but this one may require more assistance depending on your child’s keyboarding/typing skills since it does involve more detailed computer usage. 

Start Learning With EEME

There are 3 ways to learn with EEME – FREE online lessons, their robotics kit series, and their electronics kit series.

  1. For free online lessons – families create a free account with EEME and use their web browser to interactively build and learn about electronics circuits.

2. Robotics series – The first kit of the series, Q the Robot, is a project where your child builds a 3-wheeled light-following autonomous robot. The online lessons associated with Q teach how robotics circuitry works.

You can purchase Q and additional add on kits here.

3. Electronics series – electronics kits are purchased as electronics kit monthly subscriptions. A new bite-sized kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project.

Each month’s project builds on the previous month’s knowledge and interactive quizzes, questions reinforce kids’ understanding of the why’s and the how’s. 

Learn more about the electronics monthly subscriptions here.

 

 

Be sure to take a look around the EEME site. If you have kids in the 7-10 range, they have a monthly subscription option where each project focuses on a different electronic concept, but otherwise – go for Q!

Past EEME Projects

We’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Building a Robot with EEME

EEME 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. 

Recently we shared Kaleb’s work on building Q the robot from EEME. Before getting to the finished (and fun!!) part of watching his robot move around, there were steps of learning about circuits, how motors work, and so much more. 

In short, a little bit of patience. 

The finished project though – so much fun to shut the blinds in the house, whip out the flashlight, and guide Q around the house! Especially when you see all your hard work pay off.

Q the Robot is a project kit that guides your child through the process of building a 3-wheeled robot who follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photo resistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

Building our Robot

Using the FREE online lessons (anyone can view these!), Kaleb learned first about all the components that go into building this particular robot: breadboards and how circuits are completed, making the motors turn in different directions, powering the robot, photoresistors,  and finally had a chance to start building the actual robot. 

 

If you don’t know a thing about electronics, don’t worry. There are step-by-step videos that will walk your child (and you) through the process, and that includes explaining all the various parts and exactly what they do. 

We initially broke the video lessons for Q the Robot into three segments and over the course of three/four days: lessons 1-10, 11-20, and 21-35. Each of the 35 videos range in length, but average time each day was between half an hour to  45 minutes, taking us a little over two hours to complete the entire project. 

Our first step toward finishing Q was learning about photo resistors. The battery back was temporarily hooked up again with one of the motors to see how the circuit was completed and would function. You can see the photo resistor just to the right of Kaleb’s left hand. Later there will be two that will help “guide” the robot based on the light that shines on each resistor.

After learning about the photo resistors, Kaleb was finally able to pull out the main platform and start assembling the body for Q (lesson #26). 

The back of Q features a single caster that allows the robot to pivot or wiggle back and forth as it moves. 

The next steps (#27-28) may have caused a little more frustration for Kaleb. In assembling the motors and attaching them to the platform, it was a little trickier for him (he kept dropping one of the screws and missing the hole). 

Can I tell you what I loved at this part though? His utter concentration, shown by the tongue that stayed half stuck out of his mouth for the remainder of the building process. 

He was able to finally get both motors attached and labeled either right or left. The labeling is important for the turning of the wheels that are still to be added. 

The power switch and battery pack were the next to be added. We used some velcro dots (provided) to attach the battery pack to the platform – super quick and easy. 

At this point, Q the Robot was beginning to take shape nicely. While Q waited patiently, Kaleb completed a little more wiring. 

And finally the breadboard was mounted to robot body… 

motors were wired correctly (in complete concentration as you can see)…

And Q the Robot was finished! 

The best part though, after all this hard work, was seeing Q in action and having Kaleb explain some of it. Click to watch the video above (you can also visit and watch on YouTube). 

 

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Everything’s included – parts, wires, batteries are included in all every kit
  • No experience needed – our online lessons to mentor, guide, and teach your kid (seriously, this is a lovely thing)
  • Safety first – no soldering required, low voltage projects (the mom in me rejoices)

Meanwhile, kids are learning solid concepts and being challenged by building projects using REAL components. They may make mistakes, but in doing so, they learn to review and discover what they can do to make it better and work correctly. 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 1-2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

Start Learning With EEME

There are 3 ways to learn with EEME – FREE online lessons, their robotics kit series, and their electronics kit series.

  1. For free online lessons – families create a free account with EEME and use their web browser to interactively build and learn about electronics circuits.

2. Robotics series – The first kit of the series, Q the Robot, is a project where your child builds a 3-wheeled light-following autonomous robot. The online lessons associated with Q teach how robotics circuitry works.

You can purchase Q here.

3. Electronics series – electronics kits are purchased as electronics kit monthly subscriptions. A new bite-sized kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project.

Each month’s project builds on the previous month’s knowledge and interactive quizzes, questions reinforce kids’ understanding of the why’s and the how’s. 

Learn more about the electronics monthly subscriptions here.

 

Be sure to check out the first half of our Q the Robot project, and be sure to take a look around the EEME site. If you have kids in the 7-10 range, they have a monthly subscription option where each project focuses on a different electronic concept, but otherwise – go for Q!

Past EEME Projects

We’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Learning About Circuits with Q the Robot

EEME 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. 

One of the hardest things about receiving something fun to build is having the patience to get to the finished product. 

Especially when it’s going to be something fun. Like your very own robot. 

A few years ago Zachary had the opportunity to build Q the Robot from EEME and Kaleb is such a hands-on, STEM-loving boy, we wanted him to have the same opportunity. The process of building Q isn’t just snapping a few pieces of wiring together – it’s a chance to learn about breadboards, building circuits, how motors work, and so much more! 

Q the Robot is a project kit that guides your child through the process of building a 3-wheeled robot who follows light. He is the first in a series of robotics projects from EEME – and there is no coding required to get started! Once completed, Q follows light around using two sensors, or photo resistors. When light is shined directly onto the sensors, Q turns to follow the light. 

Building our Robot

Because there is so much to learn with Q the Robot (and even more kits build on this one base project), we’re going to share a little bit about what we learned in the first half of our building – the bulk of the steps needed to get Q moving and rolling, but before the entire body is constructed: circuits, the breadboard, motors, and transistors – and how they all work together. 

One of the things I love about EEME is that they offer FREE online lessons for your kids to view. If you don’t know a thing about electronics, don’t worry. There are step-by-step videos that will walk your child (and you) through the process, and that includes explaining all the various parts and exactly what they do. 

(Ask me how I know.)

Since we have worked on Q the Robot before, one thing I will note is there have been some upgrades that make the entire process simpler for kids to work on. Rather than having to strip any wires, they now provide a few different components, such as wires with pre-installed plugs, that are easier for kids to manage (thank you!!). The overall project functions the same, but for kids who may get frustrated easily, these changes are perfect. 

Step one was sorting all of the pieces and making sure we had the correct number for everything (we did). We also gathered any additional supplies we might need (Phillips head screwdriver, a piece of paper, and scissors). 

Each of the 35 video lessons for the Q the Robot project are 5 minutes or less in viewing time, some even around the 2 minute mark. We broke up our lessons over the course of three days and spent on average about half an hour to 45 minutes working each day. 

After sorting all the pieces, Kaleb took a few minutes to build an LED circuit (lesson 6) so he would know when Q was on or off. One thing that is great about this lesson is learning how to essentially mark points on a graph (find hole 4e, etc…). 

Kaleb next learned about breadboards and how the various holes are connected (lesson #7). For example, everything you see above in row 2 (2a, 2b, 2c, 2d, and 2e) are all connected. There are also four buses (two on the top and two on the bottom between the blue and red lines). 

A metal bar under each hole grouping in a row connects them together. You can connect Row 1 on the bottom half of the board to Row 1 on the top half of the board by inserting one half of a prong into each half and completing the circuit. 

One thing that I think is fabulous about this program are the intermittent ‘quizzes’ that are given to make sure kids understand the concepts they are learning. 

After learning the basics of the breadboard and hooking up our battery pack to make our LED light work, we moved on to motors and how they work (lessons 10 & 11). 

Initially our motor didn’t spin, so Kaleb was able to rewind the video, double check his wiring (which was wrong), and fix the problem so his motor would work correctly. In this lesson we also learned how to make the motor spin in opposite directions based on how the wiring was done. 

EEME Dad explains magnetism and how it affects the motors when electric current flows through – and how flipping how the motor wires changes the direction causes the magnetic field to flip as well (it’s fun to learn these things!). 

Our second day we looked more into how the motor gearbox works, and while this is something Kaleb was a little more familiar with, it was a great review in understanding both of the motors. 

Next step: transistors (lesson #14) and adding them to the circuit. Once the prongs were splayed they were placed on the breadboard. 

He then added a few resistors to the board (learning how to make L-bends), gradually adding the motor wires as well to complete the circuit and get one of the motors turning. 

And rather than just telling the kids to use the transistor, EEME Dad explains exactly how they work (somewhat similar to a mechanical switch). He also explains how the transistor is turned “on” and “off”, allowing the current to flow through. 

Our last few lessons covered how the transistor turns the motor (lessons 17 & 18) and why the transistor gets hot. This was another great stopping point for us since Lesson 20 gave Kaleb the chance to summarize what he had been learning. 

Kid that are able to can type and submit their answers in the lesson. Since I was with Kaleb, he summarized the process to me and any part he wasn’t quite sure on, we quickly reviewed.

One of the things I appreciate about the lessons are the metaphor examples EEME Dad provides for kids – for example, comparing the resistors to a water dam, with the water levels represent voltage. He walks kids through the circuits and explains it in ways that are easy for them to understand. 

Next week I’ll be sharing the rest of our Q the Robot project, but in the meantime, I’d encourage you to take a look around the EEME site. If you have kids in the 7-10 range, they have a monthly subscription option where each project focuses on a different electronic concept, but otherwise – go for Q!

What Mom’s Need to Know…

  • Everything’s included – parts, wires, batteries are included in all every kit
  • No experience needed – our online lessons to mentor, guide, and teach your kid (seriously, this is a lovely thing)
  • Safety first – no soldering required, low voltage projects (the mom in me rejoices)

Meanwhile, kids are learning solid concepts and being challenged by building projects using REAL components. They may make mistakes, but in doing so, they learn to review and discover what they can do to make it better and work correctly. 

Perfect for ages 10+

Time Required: 1-2.5 hours

Parental involvement: varies based on child

Start Learning With EEME

There are 3 ways to learn with EEME – FREE online lessons, their robotics kit series, and their electronics kit series.

  1. For free online lessons – families create a free account with EEME and use their web browser to interactively build and learn about electronics circuits.

2. Robotics series – The first kit of the series, Q the Robot, is a project where your child builds a 3-wheeled light-following autonomous robot. The online lessons associated with Q teach how robotics circuitry works.

You can purchase Q here.

3. Electronics series – electronics kits are purchased as electronics kit monthly subscriptions. A new bite-sized kit ships every month complete with all the electronic components needed to build a new project.

Each month’s project builds on the previous month’s knowledge and interactive quizzes, questions reinforce kids’ understanding of the why’s and the how’s. 

Learn more about the electronics monthly subscriptions here.

Past EEME Projects

We’ve worked on several other projects from EEME. If you’re interested in learning more about their monthly subscription program, be sure to check out the below posts for more information:

Our Favorite Homeschool Writing Curriculum

There was a time period many years ago where both of our girls hated writing. All the joy, fun, and creativity had been sucked out of that subject thanks to me and the belief that writing could only be done one way (thank.you.very.much), and there was no wiggle room allowed.

(I was desperately wrong, in case you were wondering).

Many of us get caught up in the ‘right way’ to teach something (or maybe that’s just me), and in the process we often forget that learning should be fun and something our kids desire to do. When the creativity literally shriveled up in our girls, it was a moment when I realized we needed to stop and bring the life back into a subject that was dry, dry, dry – and make it fun!

Enter WriteShop…

We picked up a set of holiday StoryBuilder cards from WriteShop before one Christmas break and suddenly, based on three little prompts, the writing floodgates opened and stories began to pour out of our girls. Notebooks were filled (and kept going and going) in just a short timeframe. The love for writing returned.

Ironically, we already had one level of WriteShop on our shelf, but I had put it aside for something else (hello, shiny). We pulled that book back off the shelf, ordered additional levels, and haven’t looked back since! WriteShop has become the writing program of choice for our children, and one that I wholeheartedly recommend to other families.

A Solid Writing Base

writeshop-features-1and2-b

This year, Laurianna (11th grade) has been taking dual credit English classes at our community college that require a lot of detailed writing assignments. I’ll admit that at first I was nervous – would she be able to handle the requirements? 

In her sixth and seventh grade years, she completed both WriteShop I and WriteShop II and went on to work through three years of a high school literature program in which I based the writing rubrics off our time with WriteShop – and you all, she has been SO prepared! The foundation those two years gave her were truly the core of her writing.

Not only did the WriteShop I and II programs prepare her, they prepared me as a teacher to truly instruct her in the writing process (from essays to research papers), evaluate her work, and offer constructive feedback. As I mentioned before, the grading rubrics were highly instrumental in our high school literature program as well and helped in various co-op classes when needing to provide instruction and guidance to those students.

Really truly, the one thing that I keep repeating to my high school lit classes – being able to write a strong paper is one of the most important things in education. Choosing words carefully, writing a persuasive argument, proper spelling – writing is a part of almost every facet of our lives!

A few words written poorly can make all the difference, and I want our kids to have a strong writing background, which I know they will thanks to WriteShop.

I’ll also admit that the teacher’s guides in the WriteShop 1 and WriteShop 2 levels have greatly spoiled me. The grading rubrics and instructions are very clear – such a huge help to a busy homeschool mom, and the step-by-step program is easy to follow for both students and teachers.

Something for EVERY Grade Level

While I’ve shared much of our love for the WriteShop I & II programs, they truly have a writing program or tool for every grade level, and it’s never too late to jump in and start. Our younger children are also using their programs (Junior and now WriteShop I), and we have worked through all the levels of their programs in recent years. We really love it that much!

From grades K through high school, there is truly something for each of the children in your home to use. 

 

FREE Writing Prompts

WriteShop

Don’t miss their FREE writing prompts either! These are a fantastic way to get a peek into the WriteShop programs – and get hooked as our family did! From elementary through high school, there are mini-lessons, story prompts, word prompts, and programs to encourage and help even the most reluctant writers! Here are a few reviews that’s I’ve written in the past:

Writing doesn’t have to be another chore you add to your homeschool day. It can be fun and productive – and inspire your family to creative writing for years to come.

A Beanbag Your Family Will LOVE!

In our home I’m not much for clutter, knick-knacks, or items that do not have a specific purpose (or dual purpose). If it’s something that will just take up space, it’s likely that item will find another home quickly.

More recently something was introduced into our home, and while it takes up a little more space, it has become so very well loved – dare I even say, coveted. Every time I turn around, it has moved because one of the kids has claimed it for the day or week. 

We have been thrilled to have a CordaRoy’s convertible bean bag in our house the last two months. Not only has it provided much comfort all over (it’s been dragged from the basement to the schoolroom and everywhere in between), but it serves a dual purpose – a queen-sized guest bed! It may also hold a special place in my heart since it is the perfect place for a certain 10 year old and me to curl up and read together. 

You all – the people who put this beanbag together are genius. It has been such a wonderful addition to our house and I have been telling everyone how much I love it, especially because you can use it in multiple ways. 

Before we received our CordaRoy’s bean bag, we had purchased a trundle bed to slide under our boys bed when friends came over. Let’s just say, the next morning I found the kiddo sleeping on the floor because the trundle was so uncomfortable. To be fair, we invited this same boy over again to test out our convertible bean bag – he was thrilled to test it out and LOVED it. :) 

Needless to say, that trundle bed is now considered taking up unneeded space and is leaving the house. We have a much better alternative with our bean bag! 

Here’s Why We Love Our CordaRoy’s

It can be used multiple ways – beanbag or bed. I mentioned that I’m not one for clutter. The fact that the bean bag is easy to move around the house and be used as a bean bag some days or opened up to make into a bed, makes it so worth it to us. Our kids are getting bigger, so having the queen-sized option is great, especially for visiting guests. We were able to use a standard set of queen sheets without any issue (bed side is 60 x 80 x 10”). Check out their size comparison chart for a visual: youth, full, queen, and king.

Additionally, there are multiple cover options. We have the charcoal chenille queen sleeper and the color blends in all over the house and is also a soft, plush fabric. Corduroy, velour, faux cowhide and other cover choices are also available. 

It is super comfortable.  Our kids don’t quite fight over the bean bag (other than they each want it in their own room), but this is a bean bag you just sink into and don’t want to get out of. Don’t worry adults – I promise you will be able to get up. Trust me. I’ve done it.

Packed full of memory foam, it envelops you and you will love it. We’ve recently switched to memory foam pillows and the comfort of both together is fabulous. There’s also another member of our house who loves it and won’t stay out – our pup, Addie. She’s rather hilarious in it, curling up whenever she has the chance.

It will LAST. We’ve had other beanbags in the past and hands-down this one feels different and doesn’t compact after a lot of sitting, jumping, or sleeping. Besides that, it has a LIFETIME Guarantee. This may seem insignificant, but after many a flat bean bag, this is a big deal for us. 

Setup is super-easy. When you want to convert the beanbag to a bed or vice versa, it will take only a few minutes (we may have timed ourselves at just over two minutes). One of the kids and I were easily able to do it together (their demo on folding it like a taco is very helpful). Take a quick 30 second peek at the video below to see how easy it is. 

A Special Discount for You!!

CordaRoy’s has offered my readers a 10% discount on any purchase they make. Use the code PXQU during checkout and you’ll save. 

Right now bean bags start at just $99 (youth size), so it’s the perfect time to shop. Additionally, any order over $250 receives free shipping – so double savings for you!

Truly you all – this is something your family (and friends) will use and enjoy for years and something our entire family recommends to yours. I am beyond thrilled with this beanbag and know you will be as well! 

Click HERE to learn more. 


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