Looking for the perfect hands-on spelling (and reading) program? Who isn’t? Here’s my review of the spelling and phonics curriculum called All About Spelling. Before I begin I’d like to tell you a story:
When I was in graduate school there was an ongoing debate among educators regarding what was then called “whole language” which basically meant the teaching of literacy using sight words; immersing kids in print-rich environments; labeling common items around the room and/or home; reading lots of good, quality literature while pointing to the words as we read, and often using “big books”, etc. Sounds like all the things that common sense would warrant, right? But where does the teaching of phonics fit in to this poetic scenario?Ah. Thus the debate.
How Much Phonics Do You Need to Teach?
There were people on either side of this debate of course, and the pendulum would swing one way or another over the next 15+ years as I began my career and watched this debate continue.
Where do I stand? On the fence. Sort of.
Any good teacher knows that one size never fits all and that a combination of teaching methods is often best. That’s where I fell into this debate. If I had to join a rank, I’d join the “whole language” crowd, however, I knew that to efficaciously teach reading and spelling to my students I’d have to use some sort of phonics program.
What if My Children are Natural Spellers and Good Readers Already?
Enter the homeschool. My girls were natural readers. They’re the kind of kids that one might say learned to read on their own with no instruction from me. Is this true? No. This is never true. My children were immersed in a literate environment from the moment they were born. They were immersed in the print-rich environment I speak of, they watched me point to words as we read even when they were still considered babies. They learned to read early and they understood how print works because of the environment.
Since I know that reading and writing go so hand in hand, I did not dissuade my girls from “writing” whenever they wanted to. Because of all that, they were both competent writers early on, and pretty good spellers. My youngest published her first book just before her 16th birthday and studied at The Author Conservatory during her senior year. She’s working on her next book as I edit this post.
But I wanted more for my girls. I wanted them to know the “whys” of the English language. I wanted them to be able to decode words and spell words and understand the underlying workings of spelling.
Is Teaching Phonics Boring?
Simply, I wanted a good curriculum that would teach my girls the way letters, sounds, and phonemes work. I was not looking for a “teach your child to read” curriculum and I definitely did not want a spelling program which had my girls write over and over and over again a list of words in a notebook. All About Learning Press also has a wonderful reading program and I can assure you that neither one of these are boring for you, the teacher, or your students.
All About Spelling incorporates lots of hands-on activities, along with more focused, contracting experiences like writing, but also includes listening for the auditory learner. Any time a child can manipulate and play with words, the learning deepens.
This program is not only for early readers and writers. It begins at level 1, good for beginning writers or those new to the English language but also continues toward high school. This program has also received kudos for helping students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
The Story Behind the Curriculum
Read about why Marie Ripple created this amazing program in the first place. I think you’ll love her story, and I know your kids will love using the program.
I don’t know about you, but I need all the tips I can get for how to avoid homeschool burnout. By the end of December, and again around the beginning of May, you can stick me with a fork because I’m done.
I’m worn out from all the curricular AND extracurricular activities. I’m barely hanging on, and the words you’ll hear most often from my mouth those days are, “just skip it!” My homeschooling mojo has left the building. My inspiration lies wet and soggy somewhere underneath a pile of once shiny-new ideas.
I need a pick-me-up, and a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with almond milk just won’t do. I’m experiencing homeschool burnout.
I’ve been through this before. Many times. And I can help you get through your own version of homeschool burnout
Here are three things that have helped me most: (in order)
Stop Feeling Guilty
I know you feel it. You can’t deny it. We homeschool moms are the ones who begin each year with our polished new ideas, mission statements, clean schedules, new resolutions and high hopes. When we get to May and are reminded of all the ways in which our ideas didn’t pan out, we feel awful. It’s to be expected. But guilt (or remorse or regret) just don’t serve us. Throw those feelings away and replace them with a mind open to learning why those ideas didn’t pan out. For me, it’s usually because of one of these three things: (more…)
Why do you need New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool? I’ll be honest: I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. In fact, several years ago I resolved not to participate in the seemingly pointless, tradition of sharing with friends all the ways I was going to make my life better in the coming year.
What a set up for failure, right?
I mean, all these ads and sales for healthy foods, supplements, weight loss products, exercise equipment is enough to prove that resolutions don’t last; otherwise all these things would be in your face all year long.
But today I’m not talking about exercise and diet resolutions; I’m talking about resolutions for your homeschool and why you need them.
Are there changes you’d like to make? Things you’d like to do differently? Do your kids have ideas about what they’d like to add to their schooling? Now is the time to regroup, recharge and resolve! Making New Year’s resolutions for your homeschool is important and here’s why: (more…)
Great Gifts for Homeschoolers
Looking for the perfect gift for that homeschooling family in your life? We have something for everyone here! Add them to your wish list and tell Santa and your friends and family! We homeschoolers can be a resourceful bunch, and we want something useful and practical sometimes, right?
Give a gift that keeps on giving this year! I’ve joined 11 other homeschool bloggers in bringing you all of our very best products which will be great gifts for homeschoolers! Each of these was crafted with love to bless your homeschool! All virtual products will supply a beautiful gift certificate for you to gift or stuff into a stocking. Happy Shopping!
Have a teen who lives to play video games? Get them engaged in learning with Fundafunda Academy’s Introduction to Game Programming. This is a self-paced class for grades 5 – 12 that introduces students to game programming. They will learn about game design, how to create game graphics and some basic computer logic. They will also program an interactive greeting card.
Some teens love to talk, maybe your teen needs her own podcast! Does your homeschool teen need an elective credit on their transcript but feels uninspired by the options? Would your techie high schooler like to pursue their passions while completing coursework? Then the Podcast Launch for Teens by Abby Banks is for YOU! Save $15 with coupon code MERRY
Keep the Christmas spirit going with playful fun! These practical activity plans are perfect to embrace the holiday season with your kids! They’re simple enough that they fit in easily to your already hectic schedule.
There are four weeks of activities already planned out for you, so there’s no need to go looking for something to do with the kids, it’s all right there. And there’s details and photos if you need it. Make this Christmas season your child’s very best ever with Celebrate from The Activity Room!
Seven lessons, six projects, tons of fun!!! This mini-course is perfect for Christmas break or weekly lessons this winter.
Unlike most art programs, Beyond the Stick Figure courses are not just a collection of projects, but a course in art techniques. These core techniques will give your child the confidence and ability to independently create masterpieces. Have an Art Camp with your family! Just click open, and go.
Younger kids will have fun exploring the ocean and learning Spanish as they go. The Spanish Ocean Animals Printables Workbook by Spanish4Kiddos includes four worksheets for children to practice Spanish terms of ocean life. Children practice handwriting, fine-motor skills, and reading. Common core and NGSS aligned. Grade Level: K
PERFECT FOR THE CRAFTY TEEN OR PRE-TEEN GIRL IN YOUR LIFE, AND JUST IN TIME for Christmas! Bookmarks and cards make awesome gifts for Christmas and other occasions. And since they are designed to be printed, cut out and decorated:
The Super Bundle of Bookmarks and Cute Cards would be a perfect gift for a girl in your life who loves to create do-it-yourself crafts!
Fill your year with music! “A Year of Charlotte Mason Music Lessons”
by Music in Our Homeschool is an online course that provides you with a gentle way to do music in your homeschool. Each month you’ll focus on two things: Composer Study and either a Folk Song or a Hymn. Use coupon code STOCKINGSTUFFER to get $10 off! (Coupon code expires 1/15/20.)
Your child will enjoy making his own music with Joyfulnotes Piano for Beginners. Engaging piano lessons delivered right to you for an amazingly affordable price. Now, your child can learn the joy of playing the piano anytime and anywhere. Designed for children age 5-8
Let’s Not Forget Mom
Get an inside look into homeschooling with Sound Foundations Homeschool’s Homeschool Moms Want You to Know! This Amazon bestseller is written by real homeschool moms for moms just like you. See what homeschooling looks like, get the information you need, and walk away renewed with inspiration. A must-read for every prospective and new homeschool mom!
Are you considering homeschooling in Florida and want to make a change? Our beginner’s course may be for you. Take the guesswork out of things, and get the FACTS all in one place. Your options can be confusing, but we clear them up here. By the time you go through this interactive course, you’ll be clear on what YOUR needs are, what your children’s needs are, and what your FAMILY’s needs are. Then you’ll be able to make the right choice.
Take Courage, Moms!
Be encouraged and inspired by our 30-day quote journal just for you.
This 64-page journal will take your quiet prayer time to a whole new level.
Go deeper with these beautiful Christian quotes and questions to ponder, plus writing space for personal reflection in Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms by Homeschool in Florida
And lastly, have you seen the NEW edition of Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, from Betsy Sproger @ BJ’s Homeschool?
Betsy has been homeschooling for over 14 years. Her daughter got into each of the colleges on her list, with scholarship offers, including a Tier One U. All of Betsy’s tried and true tips for high school and college both are gathered together in her new book!
She not only helps you homeschool your teen but also makes the process of getting into college easy to understand. Her book includes 12 high school planning printables, to make your record-keeping easy.
Keep your nurturing homeschool style and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges!
When you’re homeschooling your children, you may want to set up a designated study area. Sometimes it’s helpful for kids to be able to separate schooling from the rest of their home life, while other kids can focus just fine from the couch or the kitchen table. I recommend having some are that is quiet and separated as a study area. A lot of parents don’t really know where to start with this and that means they make a lot of simple mistakes with their homeschool area which can have a big impact on their child’s ability to learn. When creating a quiet study space for your homeschool, here are 4 important things to consider when creating a homeschool area.
Meal planning around my busy life, or just being in the kitchen in general, isn’t one of my favorite things, unless I’m preserving the bounty of my garden, or making a new batch of sauerkraut. It’s just not my passion. It’s not my “blue flame” as Jennifer Fulweiler might put it. I get that people enjoy cooking and that it’s a creative outlet for them. I get that people enjoy showcasing this skill for their friends and family. I even have friends who do this and who say, Cooking for my family is how I show my love for them. I don’t get that. If that applied to our home, my meals would say, Dear family, eh, you’re okay, and here are some chicken nuggets to prove my lukewarm feelings for you.
Luckily, I stumbled upon some pretty good tips for healthy meal planning around our busy homeschool life, and I hope that they will help you, too. I’m kidding, of course. I do love to feed my family healthy meals, it’s just that I have to follow these tips and more in order to bring my family healthy food, instead of chicken nuggets.
Good Planning = Extra Time
We eat gluten-free, mostly dairy-free, and a lot of other-things-free, too. We are mindful of eating healthy foods, but the hard part is that it’s just so time consuming making sure that we have these healthy meals and snacks ready for when we need them. And it makes me want to cry if we don’t. The key is to follow a few tips in order to provide you and your family with healthy meals.