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Top 3 Tips to Help You READ More

Reading is a hobby that I’ve enjoyed since childhood and my love for books has increased over the years. As a child, I enjoyed mysteries and recently introduced Bear to the Hank the Cowdog series. It makes me smile when he retells the stories I remember from childhood. Even, my younger two love listening to books and learning how to read.

As awesome as reading is, I know it can be hard to find time to do it. Here are three quick tips I implemented to read more.

  1. Make it a family affair by reading a book together or meeting in the same room to read. After you read, encourage conversation by asking content questions. Even younger children can tell you their favorite things, favorite characters, and how the book made them feel.
  2. Turn off the television and put away devices so you can focus. Rather than coming together and watching TV, make an effort to turn off the television and swap that show for a book. Don’t play with your phone or scroll through social media either. By doing this just twice a week you’ll be able to read much more.
  3. Audio books count too! We like listening to books while riding in the car rather than music. We just finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and everyone enjoyed the different character voices. After we listened to the book, we watched the movie and discussed comparisons to the book.

It doesn’t take much to add a bit of reading to your day. Keep including this time and before long, you’ll be finishing books rapidly. My summer reading list is long but you can see what I’m taking on via this YouTube video.

I recently finished Shaunti Feldhahn’s The Kindness Challenge and here are my thoughts on that book.

I also have a list featuring my five favorite family read alouds in this video.

So, what is next on your reading list?

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

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Review: Classical Composition I Fable Set

For the latter part of our school year, Bear has been using a unique writing program derived from the lessons of the world’s greatest writers. Classical Composition I: Fable Set, by Memoria Press, presents traditional writing techniques, vocabulary lessons, improves handwriting, and enhances communication.

This Classical Composition curriculum was designed based on the lessons that were used in schools for nearly 1500 years and taught by great teachers and speakers like Cicero and Quintilian. This program uses the ancient Greek progymnasmata approach. This method taught students to speak with proficiency and prepared them to create literary works that appealed to vast audiences. Classical Composition I: Fable Set includes a Teacher Guide, Student Book, and Instructional DVDs. The entire course covers 20 of Aesop’s Fables.

The Teacher Guide begins with a detailed breakdown of all the instructional components. The lesson is structured to read the prevented fable aloud, repeat and learn any vocabulary words, and then narrate from memory. Next, you help your child work through several paraphrasing exercises to better understand the meaning of the fable. After that, you guide them through the plot structure by writing a summary of the story. A grade based rubric is also included that provides appropriate variables for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Each lesson includes a screenshot of the Student Book with a myriad of examples for the vocabulary words as well as sample answers for the rewrites and paraphrases. Within the appendix, located in the very back of the book, you can find figures of writing descriptions with detailed examples for each. There is also an essay about the progymnasmata teaching style which includes a bit of the history and how it is a being applied currently in an updated way.

The Student Book begins with the aforementioned breakdown of all the instructional components. I used this portion of the workbook to explain what the curriculum was about and answer any questions Bear head prior to beginning the lessons. Each lesson begins with a written version of the fable and has separated response sections for every part of the lesson. The response sections are lined similarly to college rule paper which didn’t work well for our son. He writes neat but still rather large, even in cursive so more room was needed for some answers. The appendix, located in the back of the book, includes the previously mentioned writing descriptions with examples and the essay.

The DVD set comes with four instructional discs, each housing five lessons. The main menu gives you the chance to pick which lesson you would like to go over. After you pick, each lesson has its own menu which includes the separate sections of it. From there you are able to decipher which portion of the lesson you would like to go over. The vocabulary words shown in the student and teacher books are provided on the screen for the student. The video lessons are approximately 30 minutes each. There are mentioned moments to pause the DVD so your child has the opportunity to fill in their answers. Upon return, the answers are displayed on the screen and explained. I like the idea of having the instructional DVD however, you do miss the opportunities for discussion with your child. Talking with Bear is one of my favorite things to do as his homeschool teacher. I also found that when we did it by ourselves it did not take them for 30 minutes as presented by the videos. Each portion of the lesson is broken down well but the instructional DVD didn’t work for us. However, I do think this would be good for students who have trouble reading or prefer video lessons.

The first DVD includes a course introduction which you can view, along with a sample lesson, via Vimeo.

As usual, Memoria Press has found a unique and updated way to use classical education to teach and perfect a new skill. With Classical Composition I: Fable Set Bear was able to learn and expound upon his writing and communication skills. We used this program twice a week and each lesson was completed within twenty minutes. I saw improvement while using this program and we look forward to continuing it when our next school year starts in July.

Be sure to CLICK HERE to read other reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew members. We each took various products and used them with our children. I have enjoyed all the reviews I’ve read thus far and I’m sure you will too.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.

My Favorite Homeschool Planner

Today’s topic needs no introduction because it is something we all have either mastered, need assistance in, or have completely failed at. Today’s topic is organization and planning as it pertains to homeschool.

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Since the beginning of our homeschool journey I have used several different planners to keep our lesson plans, projects, library notices, and activities organized. Some of them I found quite overwhelming in the beginning since I only had one child. There were also a few that I found needed a bit more, no matter how many children you are teaching. Today, I want to share my current to favorite planners for homeschool and how I use them at Team Kemp Academy.

Screenshot_20180517-134219_Samsung Internet.jpgFirst up is the A Simple Plan, Homeschool Planner which can only be purchased at Mardel in-store or online.  This you meet teacher plan is geared toward the Christian home school family. I love that includes scripture throughout, always has a unique design, and is fairly priced. This planner also includes a detailed letter explaining the features as well as several example pages to ensure that you use your planner effectively and efficiently.

 

 The Simple Plan system is also noted for having matching accessories as well as coordinating student planners each year. The varieties offered with the designs are amazing and you will never get bored because every year there is something different to choose from for your children. The only con I’ve noted is that occasionally the spring that holds the planner together does come apart. However, according to Mardel they have updated the design and that will no longer be an issue.  Also they only have one planner available for teachers so for those who like to mix and match or have a unique look that is not unlikely.  Since the planner is always so beautiful the latter has not been an issue for me in previous years.

 

To see how I have used this planner in the past, check out this YouTube video.

 

 Next up for discussion is The Happy Planner system by Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI). This system is based on using disk to attach and remove paper from your planner as well as their variety of covers and colorful accessories. For several years they have incorporated a teacher planner system that includes various kits as well as individual large planners.  These items are available in-store and on from various retailers as well as the MAMBI website. This school year I switch to this planner because my simple home school planner did tear up because of the after mentioned spring. I was reluctant to add another happy planner to my repertoire but it worked out well. I enjoy the ability to quickly add and remove things so I can organize my planner the way I see fit.

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Though they are beautiful, the complimentary accessories might be noted as a con because it is an additional cost to the user. By the time you purchase your planner, stickers, folder packs, and protective covers you may have broken the bank.  Next, another con might be that there are too many choices within the happy planner system. You might like the cover on one, the monthly calendars on another, and the folders in another. Unless you buy all three, there is no truly cost effective way to perfectly customize your planner.  Finally, in the past it was mentioned that some teachers did not like the large size of the planners. To fix that this year MAMBI put out a classic sized teacher planner for those who prefer less space.

 

To see how I’ve used this planner for homeschool, check out my recent YouTube video.

 

So, here we are preparing for our next school year which begins in July.  I have been looking at my previous planners and going through the pros and cons of each system. Ultimately, I have decided on which one I will use next year but you’ll have to wait to find that out. Just know that it has shipped and is on the way.

 

Make this week organized,

 

-Ta’Neisha K.

Orly Color Pass Subscription Review

Today I want to share with you an awesome gift that I received from my husband approximately one year ago. The Orly Color Pass nail polish subscription service was given to me by my family for Mother’s Day 2017.

With the Color Pass, you receive a nail polish subscription box once each quarter. Each box features the newest collection released from Orly as well as awesome freebies and occasionally uses. Over this year the extra bonuses included hair scrunchie, makeup primer, makeup setting spray, jewelry, a purse, and so much more. Orly has also included various base coats, top coats, nail jewels, striping tape, and a nail polish bottle holder.

Since being a subscriber for a year here are the pros:

  • Shipping has been phenomenal! The package arrives within 3 business days.
  • Company communication is quick! They answered all my questions in a timely manner and sent shipping notifications for each package.
  • The goodies are great! Yes, the box only comes quarterly but the polishes and gifts are worth waiting for.

The only cons from the subscription were some of the colors throughout the year were similar. Each collection unnecessarily included a variation of a nude frost color. I definitely didn’t need four extremely similar colors.

Overall my year using the Orly Color Pass subscription has been a good one. I’m still debating on whether or not I will renew since I have a lot of polishes already. If you’re interested in trying out this nail polish box then be sure to search for a coupon code.

Make this week colorful,

Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Planet 316 Story Bible & 3-D, Interactive App

To date, the Bible is the best selling book in the entire world and I think it’s because each one shares the most amazing story ever told. Our family was grateful for the opportunity to review the new, interactive Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App by Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals.

First, let’s discuss the features in this Planet 316 Story Bible. This children’s Bible includes over 100 stories from the Old and New Testaments. All the stories are written with early readers or those yet to learn in mind. Bam Bam and Princess were really excited to listen to each of the stories and couldn’t wait to hear what was going to happen next. The text seemed to captivate them and Bam Bam has actually memorized several passages already. The colorful illustrations will definitely catch the attention of the reader no matter their age. All the bright colors, attention to detail, and the illustrator’s ability to capture the story is spot on.

“I like this bible because I like to hear the people talking. I love the stories but I really like hearing them talk.” Bam Bam, 4 years old

Next, let’s break down the interactive awesomeness of the companion application. One of our favorite features of this Bible is that it offers augmented reality. Augmented reality is technology that superimposes a computer-generated, 3-D image with sound onto your phone or tablet. Yes! Your child will not only hear about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho but they will get to watch him march into battle. Our children were especially fascinated with the sights and sounds provided via this application. Our oldest even took it upon himself to read this to his siblings daily because he thought the app was so cool. The Planet 316 Story Bible App is FREE and available for immediate download via the Apple App Store and Google Play.

“I like learning about the king and Jesus. The animals are so cute.” Princess, 2 years old

We used this Bible several times a week during our Bible study time. In most cases, I would read a story to the children or have them listen to their brother recite it. We have used the application on my cell phone as well as all the tablets in the house. We’ve never had an issue with the function of the application and it paired seamlessly well with the aforementioned Bible features.

“I like this bible because it is kid friendly. The stories are written at a level that my baby sister can even understand. The interactive capabilities are awesome! You can see the characters come alive and my brother and sister enjoyed it. This is my new favorite book to read to them.” Bear, 10 years old

Isn’t it truly amazing how the Bible has remained a relevant, timeless, truth-filled masterpiece since its creation? Our children have always enjoyed hearing the phenomenal Bible stories throughout their lives. With the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App we are able to enjoy the word of God all the more. Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals have definitely found another grand way to share God’s word.

Be sure to CLICK THIS INTERACTIVE HYPERLINK to read additional blog posts from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Make this week fantastic,
Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Apologia Anatomy & Physiology Course

Our oldest son has thoroughly enjoyed his science experience while using Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology. Apologia did an excellent job structuring the scientific components and including the word of God in this curriculum. Let’s dive right into our thoughts on these products!

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Text: This book includes over 250 pages of information for your student to discover, perform projects, and gain a clear understanding of anatomy and physiology God’s way. It is filled with a myriad of vivid illustrations and diagrams that allow the surrounding paragraphs to come alive to any student reading. Throughout the book, there are several helpful hints for the children including reminders to explain what they learn to someone else, key vocabulary words in bold print along with their definitions, a subject index, and narrative questions. The “Try This” and “Project” opportunities are scattered within the pages and each offers a deeper understanding of the lesson via crafts, experiments, and discussion. The 14 lessons cover various body systems, nutrition, health, how God designed their immune system, embryology and much more.

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology MP3 Audio CD: Having the physical textbook was great but being able to listen to the text was truly grand. This audiobook is read by the author, Jeannie Fulbright. The past month has been extremely busy for us so we’ve had school in the car twice each week. It has been great to have the MP3 version playing while riding from various appointments and meetings. This format would also be beneficial to auditory learners and slow readers. Parents of students with disabilities that make reading difficult might also prefer this version. This is an MP3-CD that will only play in an MP3-compatible CD player or on a computer. Be sure to check your vehicle capabilities if you plan to travel while learning with this version.

“I think the textbook is really cool because it gives you a lot of stuff to think about with your body and opportunities to test the theories that you think of with exercises. The audio version was easy to listen to and follow along with. I prefer the textbook at home but on our busy Doctor’s appointments days it was good to have the audiobook as well.” Bear, age 10

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Notebooking Journal: Seeing my son use this journal frequently was my favorite part of using this curriculum. He took notes while reading and conducting experiments, drew pictures, learned provided vocabulary words, completed puzzles, and practiced writing via scripture copy work. The journal includes a complete syllabus for your child with each assignment, project, and reading scheduled. There are also reminders to narrate the text, meaning your student must explain what they have read to someone. The narration is perfect practice for comprehension and public speaking, of course. Bear writes large, even in cursive so I allowed him to narrate the answers to the review questions too. The notebook also includes an answer key and mini flap books that will be created while using this curriculum.

  • Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology Junior Notebooking Journal: The junior version of the original notebook is geared towards younger students still new to writing or children with limited writing skills no matter their age. This was also designed for students with learning disabilities. The beginning of each session has two coloring sheets for the students to complete while listening to the audiobook. The children are still given activities to complete but much fewer crosswords and overall writing time. The miniature books are still included but the aforementioned review questions are not.

“I think the notebook comes in handy for you to write what you learned in the lesson and what you think including whether you agree, disagree, like, or don’t like it. So far drawing the pictures is my favorite part and I try my best to make it look realistic.” Bear, age 10

Overall, Apologia has definitely won me over with this elementary science course. Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology takes your child on a journey from the history of medicine, through cells, DNA, and on into the body’s systems. Recently Bear was hospitalized and because of this course, he understood his diagnosis and treatment plan. I’ve found that the textbook (or audiobook) provides the details while the notebook activities give children the chance to illustrate their understanding. The whole curriculum uses the immersion approach to explain how and why our bodies work with language and activities appropriate for elementary aged children. The consistent acknowledgement to God for designing our bodies and creating everything was also a daily reminder of how magnificent he is. Finally, I was happy to see a science curriculum where the items needed for experiments are inexpensive, can be easily found in stores, or are most likely already in your home.

“I think this entire system works because the book gives great detail but the notebook allows you to break down what you’ve learned. Plus, you can always come back to your notebook and look at everything you’ve studied.” Bear, age 10

Be sure to CLICK THIS HYPERLINK TO READ REVIEWS about this curriculum by the Homeschool Review Crew

Make this week awesome,

Ta’Neisha K.

Review: Princess Cut & Purity

Discussing sexual purity with your children at any age might seem a sensitive topic to some. But, as believers, we are encouraged to start this process very early on so that when our children mature into young adulthood they have a clear understanding of what the word says and how to apply the principals. That’s why I was truly excited to watch and review the Princess Cut movie by Watchman pictures.

Princess Cut is a movie about a young Christian woman dealing with the process of being pursued and dating. So many things were touched on during this film. Since I don’t want to give away the plot here are a few details on the topics covered.

  • HOME SWEET HOME

The first thing that I noticed about this movie was that the young lady was still living at home. In this day and age, people are so set on pushing their children out of the house when they turn 18, upon the revelation that they are grown adults. I was elated to see that she was still at home and her family was still a major part of her life with her father being the forefront. I was also grateful that he wanted to meet the men that were interested in her and as a result of those conversations he was able to tell her who was good and bad. You are never too grown for parental advice and while your parents are alive you should appreciate their presence and wisdom in your life.

  • FAMILY FUELED FAITH

Another thing that was fascinating to me was that the whole family supported her desire to live for God and save herself for marriage. Her youngest brother even puts out a newspaper add about her ability to make delicious mac and cheese. This shows that what the parents are speaking and living is being soaked in by him. Her father’s love was portrayed when he worked hard to provide but was still present in their lives. A mother’s love and comfort were showcased by being there as a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear when she needed to vent.

  • FRIENDS OR FRIENEMIES

This film touches on parts of friendships that can be quite sensitive. Sometimes your friends appear to have your best interests at heart but their secret desire is just to keep you on the same level. Your friends should honor your decisions, especially as a Christian, and they should also act accordingly. Insecure friends will also try to use you to act out their desires.

  • LOVELY LOVE STORY

I thought it was so fitting that the love interest was not initially desired. I honestly think this seems to be the case for a lot of successful relationships, mine in particular. The chase makes the love story all much more intriguing, funny, and memorable in movies as well as a real life. Plus we know what we “allegedly want” but God knows what we actually need.

  • DATE TO MARRY

I enjoyed the repeated standard for abstinence (celibacy was also touched on) and I was proud of her for holding true to her convictions. We also teach our children not to kiss prior to marriage because it can lead to so much more. Finally, I was happy about the importance of dating with the intention to marry. I believe that if more Christians held to this standard during their pursuit of others then we would have more successful marriages. It is truly sad that in this day and age the Christian divorce rate is the exact same, and higher occasionally than that of the United States.

Overall Princess Cut by Watchman Pictures was fun to watch and should spark a conversation about purity with older children. This can also be a great opportunity to discuss celibacy amongst family and friends as well as young adults. I’ve already watched it twice and have several friends interested in purchasing it too.

CLICK HERE to read additional reviews by the Homeschool Review Crew.

Currently, this film is available in DVD and Digital formats. You can also purchase the soundtrack for this film. Check out the trailer for this film via this YouTube video.

Make this week grand,

Ta’Neisha K.