Tuesday, April 28, 2015

La La Logic Preschool Curriculum Review

La La Logic Review
La La Logic graciously allowed me to review their Preschool Curriculum for the last several weeks. This curriculum is jam packed with online preschool logic games that target early learning, problem solving, critical thinking skills, and so much more! La La Logic was created by a mom who wanted more for her children than what was currently out there. Even though this specifically targets Preschool ages, it is suitable for older kids and special needs kids, as well. There are three modes to choose from: A continuous brain challenge mode that keeps going and going for as long as you want,  a La La Logic curriculum mode with a duration of just a few minutes, and an Extra Practice option where you can choose the type of activity you want your child to work on. I'll go into detail about these in a moment. There is also a curriculum guide with worksheets and extras available. For this review, I was given one membership. 
La La Logic Review
Continuous Brain Challenge Mode
With Continuous Brain Challenge Mode, you can pick the difficulty level by choosing a higher or lower session number. Once you do this, you have a never ending supply of changing logic/critical thinking "games" that will challenge preschool ages, as well as older kids who may try to rush through. For the first few weeks, we did nothing but the Continuous Brain Challenge Mode. Whether you choose to do this for 5 minutes, or 35 minutes, it is a lot of fun and stimulates your child's brain to stop, think, then answer. 
Extra Help

With the Extra Help tab, you can select a session number for difficulty, then which specific game activity you would like to have your child work on. While we did not utilize this beyond exploration of the option, it would be very useful if your child is having difficulty with a concept. 

La La Logic Curriculum

This is my favorite part. Younger children can practice 10-20 mins a day, while older children can do double lessons for an added challenge. I love how there is a weekly schedule that sets the pace, and includes family time. I am also impressed with duration, and the specific mention of "leaving plenty of time for your young child to play." Play is such a very important aspect of a child's life. It is through exploration and play that children learn life's lessons that truly stay with them forever. This curriculum recognizes the importance of play, and acknowledges that importance with short, yet fulfilling enrichment activities. There are a number of downloads that accompany La La Logic Curriculum, so your preschooler, special needs child, or older student will have plenty of fun, challenging activities that will not take hours to complete. Each weekly download has a place for comments and asks what your child's favorite activity was, what they found difficult, and your goals for the next week. Then there is a fun worksheet. My son rather enjoys the worksheets. He finds them as fun, puzzle games. These are also a great way to ground him before beginning the rest of our studies for the day.  

La La Logic Review
La La Logic Worksheets

La La Logic Review
Another activity where your child will have to choose which card is being described below. In this case it is a blue square that is situated at the top. 

La La Logic Review
Overall, I found La La Logic to be a fun morning warm up for my 9 year old, and a fun afternoon wind down also. I even had fun doing the Continuous Brain Challenge Mode on my own! This curriculum is great for special needs, especially developmental delays and autism disorders. I would go so far as to say this would be great to incorporate into speech therapy sessions! It is very affordable, with a one time payment for a lifetime membership (as of the date of this post.) Plus, there is a free trial, so you can try it out first! You can access it via tablet or laptop, so it is versatile and mobile, which is very important to us. It really is a great product, and definitely worth a try. Don't let the "preschool" wording fool you! This is great for ages beyond 3-6! 
La La Logic Review
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Monday, April 27, 2015

Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements Review

Spelling You See Review
When I found out I was chosen to review Spelling You See I was SO excited! If you have a student who is struggling with spelling, who is a visual learner, or you just need an alternative method to spelling, then Spelling You See is for you! My son is a bad speller, and nothing we've tried has worked. Spelling You See, and more specifically Ancient Achievements (Level F,) is a spelling program that does not have boring word lists. Instead, it uses visual learning, reading passages, and copy work to teach spelling in a way my child "gets." Not to mention, your student will get to use colored pencils, and who doesn't like colored pencils?! 

What we received:
For this review, we received an Instructor's Handbook, Student Books 1 and 2, and a pack of erasable colored pencils. These were all a part of Spelling You See Ancient Achievements (Level F.) 
Spelling You See ReviewSpelling You See ReviewSpelling You See Review

How we used it:
We have TRIED to "do" spelling. I've made lists, I've printed off lists, I've bought lists....nothing has worked! I opened the box to Spelling You See, and it was like Christmas for me! We got started immediately! We use this 3 to 4 days a week, and incorporated it into fun history lessons as well. Each passage/lesson is comprised of a history lesson, so you can easily incorporate this into any ancient world history studies you may be doing. 

What we loved:
I love the repeated practice. I love how it progresses slowly upward from directly copying the passage to narration. The amount of practice is pretty perfect for us. The lessons aren't terribly long, so there's no lost attention span. I love the fact the kids can use colored pencils, and the letter chunks are color coded. This is great for a visual learner! 

What about special needs?
I also appreciate the two workbook system.This prevents anxiety from seeing a larger workbook. Often, especially with Asperger's or Autism, kids feel the need to complete the ENTIRE book. Having the work separated into two different books lessens this type of anxiety. 

Does Spelling You See: Ancient Achievements pass my 4 main ingredients test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
You can set your own schedule if you want, but since it is a spelling program it is best to follow the lessons in order as one builds off the other in a logical manner. You can take breaks as needed, since it is a physical book. You can adapt or schedule as you do any other physical book. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees? 
These levels are based upon skill and academic level. (Example Level F, Level G, etc.) There are suggested age/grade ranges for these levels, and of course you can use a lower level for more review, or a higher level for more of a challenge. You are locked into that one level, since it is a physical product. And as a result, there are no hidden fees. Each set has everything you need. 

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?
My son did not find it boring. The coloring aspect, and the engaging subject matter went a long way in taking an otherwise boring subject (spelling) and making it fun and interesting. He's not much of  fan of copy work, but finds it a necessary evil to accomplish his learning goals. The lessons are short, the copy work not excessive. He didn't spend much longer than 20 minutes per lesson. 

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.
Level F is based on Ancient History, so if you are already studying (or plan to study) an ancient world history lesson, then this will fit right in! You can also use this if you are studying something else, and it won't be confusing at all. 


Overall, we really enjoy Spelling You See and plan to make it a staple in our homeschool! The lessons are short and sweet, the use of colored pencils makes it fun for him. The subject matter is intriguing and engaging, making this a fun way to learn the mechanics of spelling! You know it is a hit when the kid ASKS to do it!

For more reviews, check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

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Unsung Heroes: Trash collectors

How often do you REALLY pay attention to the trash collectors? They are out there in horrible weather, heat, cold, wind, rain, etc. They are out there picking up our trash and disposing of it to keep our lives clean. I've passed by these guys, hanging off the back of the truck, and it -10f outside! Can you imagine how COLD they must be! And they do this to feed their families, and to help us. So I dedicate this post to the hero of the week: The Trash collectors!!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

*****When Calls The Heart Season 2 Premiers April 25 AND A GIVEAWAY!!!!!****

SHHHHHHHEEEEEW #Hearties, What a premier! If you like Hallmark Channel's "When Calls the Heart," then you simply MUST tune in April 25 at 8/7c for the 2 hour season premiere! I was sooooo blessed to be able to preview this season premiere! It is amazing! It is awesome! It is.....Sigh I can't even put it into words!!!!!  So, Set your clocks, your phones, whatever reminder you have at your disposal and TUNE IN! The dynamics between Erin Krakow's leading character and Daniel Lissing's are just....yeah, you gotta watch! I don't want to go into too many details (ok so I SO do, but I'm afraid if I do I'll give away spoilers!) but just WATCH IT!!!! Then come back here and let me know if you loved it as much as me!

But wait....there's more!  Your comment will be an entry into a GIVEAWAY! Yes, that's right! One lucky person will win the entire first season on DVD! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! So....watch it, then come back and let me know your favorite parts, thoughts, etc!

About the series:
The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West. “When Calls the Heart” tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a turn of the century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.

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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

I'd rather be here.....

I found this doing a random Google image search for Tropical Beach. I need to be in this photo!

About all of those lists we constantly see nowadays....

You know the lists I'm talking about. Those "10 things not to say to a mom with a child with autism." Or, "8 things never to feed your child with...insert malady here...." I'm sick of them!  Just because that 1 mom takes issue with it, and creates a list of things on her blog, suddenly EVERYONE who falls under the same demographic is supposed to feel the same way. Well, News Flash: WE DON'T! You can say my child is autistic. I'm not offended. I say it! Why not? Why is that a derogatory phrase? Is saying a child is diabetic suddenly slanderous as well? I don't get it?

Listen up! If we want acceptance in society, then we really need to quit getting so offended over every little thing! My child HAS autism.  My child is autistic! I'm not offended by that!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Unsung Heroes Series

I've been thinking about a new blog series called Unsung Heroes. We always equate this with mothers, fathers, teachers, etc. But I never hear of trash collectors, or Mail carriers. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to shine a spotlight on these fantastic people! Drop me a message, or a comment, with your suggestions of who I should feature!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Artistic Pursuits Sculpture Technique: Model Review

ARTistic Pursuits Review
Hey everyone! Put on your art smock and get ready for this review of Artistic Pursuits and their new book, "Sculpture Technique: Model." This book covers the art of model making using Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty, clay, and wool roving. The book gives really good directions, shows examples in progress and when they are finished, and it features a LOT of photos. It builds on both technique and materials as you work your way through the book, but it's also written in such a way that you don't necessarily have to work in order. There are also reviews at the end of each unit and a lesson plan of sorts at the end, which I found particularly helpful.  For this review, we received one book. 
How we used this book:

ARTistic Pursuits Review
We began with unit one, "Creating Mass with Putty." First we talked about Mass. We discussed what Mass is vs. Weight, we talked about matter, states of matter, etc. This was mostly a refresher for my 9 year old, but I wanted to make sure I tied in the art lessons with science and history. I dutifully ordered the Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty when I couldn't find it at my local hardware store. I anxiously opened the box when the UPS guy delivered it. And then I laughed....and laughed....and laughed. For the record, Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty is NOT putty! It's a powder similar to "Plaster of Paris." Well....paint me silly! I now have 8 pounds, in two REALLY large canisters of this stuff! Just a little FYI for you folks out there who, like me, have NO idea about anything like that! This unit sets the stage for how to construct your model. You are to work the powder into a putty, mold it or apply it the way the book says, and then stand back in awe of your creation. 
We worked our way through to Unit two, "Creating Scale with Clay." This was our favorite of the 3. We talked all about clay, again we discussed states of matter, and we looked into how clay has been used throughout history-from jewelry to clay pots. Mr. B also went to his dad's and tried to dig clay out of the creek. For this unit, you need a lot of clay if you want to complete all of the projects. 10 pounds in 2 different colors to be exact. You'll also need specific clay tools, like cutting wire, and patience since it takes the clay a few days to dry enough to paint. I picked up a really large set of clay tools in a kit at a local craft store. I used a coupon (40% off 1 regular priced item) and I think the big set (with everything, mostly all wood/metal) was around $20.00. I definitely suggest getting several tools since you won't be hindered when you want to do something, but you don't have the right tool. And the clay cutting wire....amazing! I was shocked at how smoothly we were able to cut off the clay. I would also add a scale. The book calls for various weights of clay for the projects. I tried to estimate the amount, but my version of 2 pounds was always a lot larger than the book's photo of a 2 pound creation. 
Unit 3, "Creating Surface with Fiber,"  wasn't my sons favorite, but I really enjoyed it. We talked about various fiber arts such as weaving, spinning, etc. And how the projects could be used. Again, my son wasn't thrilled with this unit, so we didn't spend a lot of time here.

Overall, I think this is a well written book that brings you the concepts and techniques needed to work with sculpting from putty, clay, and fiber. While the materials aren't cheap, you will be rewarded with beautiful works of 3D art. This book spans a wide age range, and is suitable for even adults. You can utilize the techniques learned to create art projects to accompany many of your school lessons, and you can use the projects in the books like I did, and allow them to spur creative thought and learning. Overall, I am very pleased with this and would recommend it to others. 
Final Project

At the end of our review period, he was tasked with applying the principles learned in the book to create his own work of 3D art. He chose to create a clay statue of our dachshund, Brutus. This particular project used the coil method from unit 2. He also made a ball for the dog using a method from Unit 2 that covered how to make a pinch pot. 

During the process. You're supposed to use a canvas mat, but I had wax paper on hand. It worked out well for us. 
You are supposed to paint it or clear coat to seal it. My son doesn't want to paint it yet. He can't decide how he wants to paint him. 

Mr. B made, kitty approved!

My sorry attempt at Pinch pots. I felt the need to share lol! I am going to paint these to match some new decor. And yes, I fully intend to use them! 

So that's our review of Artistic Pursuits Sculpture Technique: Model. I hope you enjoyed this review as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you! For more great reviews, check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

ARTistic Pursuits Review
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday

During the construction of our home almost 5 years ago. We are so very blessed to have our home. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Review of Star Toaster "Orphs of the Woodlands"

Star Toaster Review
Hey everyone! I am so super happy to bring you this review of Star Toaster "Orphs of the Woodlands."  "Orphs of the Woodlands" is an online, interactive book geared for the upper elementary to middle grade students where they immerse themselves into a story about Night Creatures and spies! The basic premise is that your child applies for a position with the WAK Underground, and becomes a spy squirrel who must put an end to the Night Creatures who are taking over the Woodlands and save the Orphs. By reading chapters, and doing jobs, your child will earn "Gold Stars" that he or she will use to rescue Orphs, build a village, and maintain the village to support the Orphs. Star Toaster "Orphs of the Woodlands" is more than just an online streaming book. In addition to a fun, fantasy'ish chapter book, Star Toaster brings to you a virtual world of sorts with "jobs" that teach your child a variety of subjects and topics from math and language arts, to life and thinking skills. It is colorful, fun, and offers the reward of the "game" aspect. Honestly, there is so much to Star Toaster and "Orphs of the Woodlands" that I can't possibly do it justice in a short summary! It is more than an online reading program. It is more than an educational computer game. It is an interactive adventure that puts reading and education at the forefront. There are a number of tabs on your account, so I'll go over those one by one. For this review, we received access to an online account. 
Skills Report: 

Skills report is where you find the Jobs listings. I'm not a fan of the title of this option being called "Skills Report," and the reason why is kind of funny. We are a bit behind of where I had planned to be because of a couple of things: 1.) A series of storms wreaked havoc on our internet! We are STILL experiencing some bouncing. 2.) (this is the reason I'm not a fan of the title of this tab...) I was lost! For the first couple of chapters, as he would finish reading a chapter, his job list popped up automatically. After the 3rd chapter, this did not happen. I'm only revealing my total flub in case this happens to anyone else HAHA! It took me a good 10 days to figure out it wasn't a program glitch, but a mom glitch! I saw "Skills Report" and thought it was a report of what he had completed, and the "grade" he got for each job/task completed.  I wish this was labeled "Jobs Listings" or "Help Wanted" or something along those lines. But for anyone lost, like me, the jobs are under this tab! **I'm happy to say that now, after each chapter, the jobs pop up as they are supposed to HAHA!** I do wish there was a way for your child to go back and have a second chance at earning stars for missed jobs. Currently, that is not possible. Also, I wish there was more flexibility in choosing when to do the jobs. My son wanted to continue reading on into chapter 7, but he was stopped after chapter 6. He's stuck on the jobs tab, and even when we click "Continue Reading," he is still routed to the jobs list. for ease of use by the younger kids, having the "continue reading" link take them straight back to the book would create a more user friendly experience.  When your child begins a job, they have a training session. The professor of this training session is just right down funny! With EVERY lesson he says, "I never repeat myself, so Pay Attention!" He tells little jokes through out that had my son rolling with laughter! "Why is 7 a dangerous number? Because 7 8 9!" Yeah, my kid loves this part! 
Spy Application:

"Orphs of the Woodlands" is a fantasy based book. Actually, I liken it to Dungeons and Dragons in a way (for those of you who have partaken in table top gaming...) You begin with an "application" that informs you of the conflict: Night Creatures are taking over the Woodlands!! The WAK Underground is seeking applicants of trustworthy and brave individuals to help battle the Night Creatures, and save the Woodlands-Survival is not guaranteed. (See? Very D&D like HAHA!)
The Spy application sets the tone of the adventure. It is also the area where your child chooses their nickname (my son chose Picklehead,) their favorite color, and their personal attributes that qualify them for the WAK Underground (Loyal, Trustworthy, etc...) Their Spy name and favorite color are used in the reading adventure.

Account Settings:

Self explanatory. Nothing special here, just your log in and account information. 

Your journal is basically a summary of what you have accomplished thus far. This screen snip shows an earlier version of my son's journal. This is what I thought the Skills Report should be. 

Continue Reading:
 This is where you want to go when you wish to go back to the book to read more. While reading you'll find highlighted words. These words are clickable, and they will either play a sound, show a recipe, define the word, etc. The book is interactive in this way. 

My Thoughts

We are enjoying Star Toaster. The book plot is interesting, and well written. I really appreciate the interactive aspect of the reading. I like that he can click on the various highlighted words and it gives him the definition, or some other tidbit. There are recipes, music, sound effects, etc. that accompany the reading that make it interesting. The chapters are a little long for my ASD son. He gets frustrated with chapters that are 25 pages or more long, as he needs to take breaks between reading-especially complicated reading such as this. He does not like to wait to do his jobs to earn his stars until after his reading is complete. This sometimes means he has to wait 2 or 3 days since he sometimes has to re-read things more than once. I have been reading some of it to him, just so he can move on and complete what he wants to complete. For example: chapter 6 is more than 30 pages. He just got to the end of chapter 6, so he can start his jobs now. But now he's stuck again, because he doesn't wish to do the jobs right now, he wanted to move on to chapter 7 and he can't. When he finishes a chapter, if he wants to keep going, he is forced to stop and do the jobs. It takes him to a jobs list, but when he clicks on "Continue Reading," the program is currently keeping him on the jobs list until he completes them. By the time he's completed some, he no longer wishes to finish reading. Most kids will want to do the jobs in between reading (as the program is designed,) but mine wants more flexibility. Having this sort of flexibility would be a great aide to those of us with special needs kids who may need a few more breaks, or who may wish to just read as they wish before completing the jobs. 
The story line is perfectly age appropriate for him (9, almost 10) and his reading level is well developed, so he's easily able to read and understand the story. I'm not so sure it would be easily read by younger kids, or kids with a younger reading level-though with a little parental assistance, the jobs and overall program/game experience would still be ok. We were only hindered by the length of the chapters. Others with older kids (tween to early teens) have not experienced this as much of an issue, so it could very well be either an age thing or an ASD thing. Either way, it is a VERY fun program that covers MUCH more than reading. He has actively used vocabulary he's picked up from the book. he has used the story line in pretend play; rescuing Orphs in his own make believe "Woodlands" that he builds with toys. I'd show a photo of this, but he uses my entire family room floor and it looks like a bomb went off to me. To him, it's the Woodlands!

There is so much to learn! I'm still in shock. There's science, and not just your run of the mill science either. Simple Machines, life science, physical science, etc. Language arts and vocabulary that cover latin, grammar, and more. There are writing skills that develop keyboarding skills and cover great quotes. Life skills, reading comprehension, the arts, and so much more! The jobs are on a variety of levels so younger students have "easier" material, while older students will find challenges. The jobs are fairly quick to complete. Each job has as little as 1 question to earn the star payout. 

Does Star Toaster's "Orphs in the Woods" pass my 4 main ingredients test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?
You can set your own schedule and take breaks as needed, but you only have 2 months on your subscription. You can add 30 days at a time, but you are sort of under a time limit in this case. You can't really jump ahead. You have to read the chapters, then jobs unlock as you progress through the chapters. It's not a product that you can customize other than choosing when do your given jobs. I wish there was more flexibility. I wish we could choose to continue reading as much as we wanted, then choose to do the jobs later. I also wish it was possible to go back and have another chance to earn a payout on missed jobs. Currently, if your child gets an incorrect answer on a job, he/she is unable to go back to that job and earn a payout for getting the correct answer on a second chance. 

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

It is appropriate for a wide range of grades (The website says 4th-7th, but I could see older or younger still enjoying this. I enjoy myself!) My son is 4th-5th and 9, I have a friend whose teen son has been using this, and loves it. There are no grade levels, as it is one book. There are no hidden fees, but this is only the one book. Your $19.99 subscription lasts 2 months, but you can also purchase a 30 day extension to your subscription for $6.99 (as of the posting of this review.) I would personally like to see longer subscriptions because some kids, especially those with special needs, may need longer than two months to finish. You can try it before you buy it! They now offer a Free trail period! You can read the first 100 pages, and do the jobs for FREE!!!!!!

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

It is most definitely NOT boring! It is fun, entertaining, and varied with an abundance of educational "Jobs" that your student(s) must complete in order to earn stars. It is through these stars that the student can rescue Orphs and build a village, so they WANT to do the jobs. They have to read to do the jobs. For ADHD and ASD, the length of the chapters and the reading level may be a hindrance. The interactive nature of the book is also engaging. There are highlighted words, and words with icons next to them. These are sounds, vocabulary words, recipes etc. I do wish there were more photos of animals and such that are discussed in the book.

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

The jobs are so varied that it would be impossible for it to not tie into topics you have already discussed, or plan to discuss!



Star Toaster Review
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Memoria Press New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 REVIEW

Memoria Press Review
Hello everyone! For the last several weeks we have been reviewing New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 from Memoria Press. New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 is a consumable workbook that targets New American Cursive. New American Cursive has less flair and fancy (less strokes) than other fonts, but it still has that "pretty" cursive look. Since it has less "fancy schmancy" it is easier for younger kids to get the hang of it. It is also easier for those who lack refined fine motor skills, like my ASD son. It features a cute little mascot to accompany your child on his or her penmanship journey, making this penmanship program fun and fast. For this review, I received one workbook. 

Screen Snip from Memoria Press Sample Page
How we used this:

I used this with my 9 yr old son who has autism, and not the best fine motor skills when it comes to penmanship. (Ok ok, he's right down messy when it comes to print, much less cursive!) My son is left handed, and he has a very poor pencil grip. As a result, we have had to move rather slowly. The program says your child should spend around 20 mins daily, but we spent more time since I was trying to deal with him being a lefty, and me a righty, and his odd pencil grip. Not only did we spend time in the book, but I also had him copy it over and over onto notebook paper as well. So instead of covering 1 letter each day, we covered 1 letter each week. His flavor of autism doesn't include great dexterity with fine motor skills, so a greater amount of time had to be spent. This plan worked very well for us as we were able to take more time covering not only the letter shape, but also to revisit phonics as well. I made sure to incorporate the week's letter into all aspects of our lessons that week. So for week 1, we pointed out all of the A's, traced them, wrote them, etc. We went outside and made letters in the sand (he would make sandstorms before I could snap a photo!) And we'd make letters in the foam of nightly bubble baths. 
Screen snip from Memoria Press

New American Cursive is great for beginners and left-handed folks because it does not have as sharp of a slant as other fonts. My son was easily able to trace the letters, and follow the arrows.  I found he arrows particularly helpful since I didn't have to really think about how to have him actually draw the letters. That had been our trouble for so long, he couldn't figure out his own way to begin the letters. I do wish there was more practice in the workbook. It seems as if there was only a small amount of space to actually practice more of the letters, and a large amount taken up for artwork. While I value the graphics, and appreciate their need, a row per letter (uppercase and lower case) of extra practice would have been very beneficial to me. And by that I mean a row of solo practice, not tracing practice.  It would have been handy to be able to have those arrows as reference points on the same practice page of nothing but that one letter, as a guide to look back on. Perhaps a supplemental "Practice book" could accompany this workbook in the future, as a separate add-on. With that said, I like the "reviews" where the student has to combine the previous letters together. I also like the tracing/copy work sentences. These help to show why some letters end with a "smile," etc. Also, the videos on the website a WONDERFUL for teaching the right way to hold your pencil, and tilt your paper. Being right handed, it was so hard for me to help him in that area, so handwriting has always been awkward at best. The videos show proper pencil grip (which we have yet to master) and proper paper alignment for ease of use. 
Screen snip of actual sample page.

Overall, I'm very pleased with Memoria Press and New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1 for teaching cursive writing. Cursive writing is a dying art is seems. Schools are not teaching it, students are not learning it. It is so very important that we teach our children how to read and write in cursive. All of our historical documents are in cursive. A great majority of our family records and letters are in cursive. This is such an important skill to teach. Memoria Press has a link to an article published at Psychology Today showcasing the biological and psychological benefits we receive by learning cursive. Again, I stress it is very important. This program recognizes that importance, and tackles it in a fun, low stress way. It is cost efficient at $22.95 as of the date of this blog, so it won't break the bank. There are a variety of levels to choose from, so you can choose the level that is right for your family, and perhaps advance from there. If you purchase the CD, you can create customized worksheets that revolve around any other subject area you need. I would personally buy the CD as well, as I felt we needed more practice that wasn't available in the workbook itself. I highly recommend Memoria Press and their New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1! It has greatly helped us!
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Real Life Day 5

So yesterday didn't go as planned. Go figure, right? I had this beautiful, thoughtful post ready to go....and of course the weather is terrible, my internet is going in and out, and nothing gets posted. In fact, it is all lost.

So the plan yesterday was to sleep in, have a nice leisurely day of learning, clean house all day, and have some "me time" in the evening. My fiance was to work a double, so I was going to spend my time spring cleaning while Mr. B was doing some online work. Yeah....that worked out just swell! (Note the Sarcasm!)

I woke up early thanks to a crazy dream. After that, a surveyor I wasn't expecting showed up unannounced (I hadn't even brushed my hair!) Then I had to rush out for a session, impromptu of course. So I had to call my step dad to come watch Mr. B. I finally get back, but by now I'm too exhausted to clean. So I figure I'll just have a frozen pizza for dinner, and clean later. Then the fiance calls and says he's not working over. Well, sorry buddy....No dinner for you! Yesterday's school work consisted of reading, and learning about weather radars.

I go to bed thinking, this will be a better day. LOL! Funny that.

Today: Today started about 3 hours after I managed to fall asleep with a severe storm that woke Mr. B. He was up for the day. We have had breakfast, I'm getting ready to give him his morning meds, and take mine. After that I have to run to the bank, go to the hospital for a test, then go food shopping. We have a full day tomorrow, so we have to use today to do everything we were supposed to do yesterday. Fun times....on 3 hours of sleep. So the plan, if you choose to accept it, today is to work on online math and reading, some spelling and make up handwriting. Let's hope the internet holds out!

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