I is for If You Give A Mouse A Cookie…

I struggled a bit with books for the letter I. There were not any that jumped out at me at first and then I was looking at my son’s book shelf and thought of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and the others in the series by Laura Numeroff. This series is perfect for read aloud time! I am even thinking about using them for a special ‘tea party’ featuring some of the foods from the books.

I is for Pinterest

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If you have not seen these books, the premise of the book is that if you give a mouse a cookie he will want a glass of milk, and he will need a straw, and on and on it goes. It is a cute little book that is lots of fun to read with young children. The patterned language allows them to quickly pick it up and begin to help you ‘read’ it even when they are not yet actually reading.  Other books in the series feature pig, moose, and other animals and their adventures. The illustrations by Felicia Bond are absolutely adorable.

There is even a free movie series made about the books on Amazon Prime. I have not seen all of these but we enjoyed the Christmas Cookie episode. There have also been cute poems and memes made using the same language pattern, such as this If You Give A Mom a Muffin example.

These are simple fun reads that are great for preschool and elementary age students. Have you tried this series? Which one is your favorite?

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Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

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H is for Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24

Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 holds a special place in my heart. My husband wrote it and the two lead characters are heavily based on my two oldest children. It is a historical fiction novel based on the Vietnam War. It was inspired by my son’s interest in the war and his relation with several different veterans. When my husband started looking for books for him to read, they often had content that we found inappropriate for children (drugs, language, relationships, etc). He wanted to create a book that would be interesting to students, give an accurate historical picture, and yet still be appropriate for a younger audience.

h is for pinterest

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During the story the reader experiences basic training, flight school, and twelve months of life, service, and sacrifice in Vietnam. These stories are told by a veteran helicopter pilot who lives next door as Matt and Ellie develop a friendship with their neighbor, Mr. Ed

Through the story, there are references to current events and culture of the 1960s, life in the Army, flight physics, and modern life lessons for young folks. Chris really tried to create an immersive environment to share a typical story and give background information about a controversial war. He also worked to take a moderate position, helping to explain either polarized side of the debate.

This book is a great addition to a US History course, a fun read aloud for any age level, and is a good independent read for upper elementary and middle grades students. While I am sure they are just a little biased since they are on the front cover, it really is my children’s favorite letter H book. My son has read his copy over twenty times.  I highly encourage you to check Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 out and let me know what you think!

As a bonus we are running a give away in honor of the one year publishing anniversary! You can find that giveaway HERE.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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It sometimes seems that the kids need you ALL. THE. TIME!

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Orville Wright: The Flyer, Heroes of History (A Review)

When I saw that we were going to have the opportunity to request to be on a review for YWAM Publishing I knew my son was going to be excited. He already has several books from their Heroes of History series, and was excited to be able to request a new title. After looking over the list his first choice was Orville Wright. As a child I was fascinated with the Wright Brothers and my son seems to share that interest. Living only a few hours away from where they made that first historic flight makes them even more interesting.

ywampinterest

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Once we got news that we were selected for the review, we started watching the mail and waiting for the book to arrive. He was quite excited to open it and start reading when it arrived a few days later. Considering that we intended to use the Study Guide to accompany the book I had planned to take 2-3 weeks to go through the book, he loved it so much he completed the entire book in just a few days. He then used the book as he went back through and did the study guide activities.

The Heroes of History series are all biographies of heroes that had a historical impact and told from a Christian perspective. Some of these go back to the founding of our country, men such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Others are more modern day heroes like Ben Carson and Billy Graham. Orville Wright sits in the middle of those, living from 1871 to 1948.

Orville Wright: The Flyer, tells of the life of Orville Wright from the time he was about six years old. It includes stories of him and his siblings playing with rubber band flyers when they were young, how they loved kites, and how they learned to fly. They began the first chapter looking ahead to a flying accident in which Orville broke his leg and then went back to his childhood. This was very memorable to my son who actually said, “I like how the authors use one of the most tragic moments to introduce the book.”

 

The study guide is a PDF including 83 pages of ideas and activities. You could use this to make the book into a complete unit study or you can pick and choose activities to make it fit your needs. There are discussion questions for each chapter, writing prompts, creative writing activities, hands on projects, and arts and crafts. It also includes a timeline activity, basic information sheet, and several maps. We chose to select a variety of activities to expand on his learning through the book.

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Fact Sheet, Map, and Timeline

I started by having my son complete the basic information sheet, timeline and a couple of the maps to help him show me what he had learned while reading the book. He then chose a writing project and a hands-on component from the study guide and we finished it off with a field trip to the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk.

For his writing project he chose, “As Wilbur did in 1896, write a letter to the Smithsonian Institution, requesting information about an area that interests you. You can contact the museum at Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, P.O.Box 37012, MRC508, Washington, DC, 20013–7012 or via e-mail at learning@si.edu.” This was a lot of fun for him and he is waiting and hoping to get a response from them on his request for information.

 

For his hands on project, he chose to find a small household machine that he could take apart and study. He found an old drill. He took it apart, labeled each of the parts, and shared with us how the parts worked together to make the drill run.

 

 

We finished our unit study off with a wonderful field trip to the Wright Brothers monument and national park. We had a lot of fun learning even more about the brother, running down the runway and flight path of those very first flights, and even eating lunch in the lifesaving station from which the famous telegraph of their success was sent in 1903.

C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think that Orville Wright: The Flyer like the other books from YWAM Publishing offer children great examples of real life heroes. The books work great as a family read aloud, independent reading, or complete unit studies when combined with the study guides.  If this book interest you, you might also want to check out my review of one of the other books in the series about Alan Shepard . You can also click below to check out the variety of reviews by other Crew members. There are so many great choices to choose from.

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G is for Green Ember

Who doesn’t like talking rabbits? Add in a few swords and some classic good vs evil action and you have a recipe for a great family read aloud. This great series by SD Smith is one of our family favorites. The first book took a few chapters to really get into, but after that, we were all ‘hooked’. We actually enjoy listening to these as audio books on our travels, but my son also has the paperback versions of most of them so he can also read them independently.

Green Ember Pinterest

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The main characters are rabbit siblings Heather and Pickett. At the beginning of the Green Ember they lead very ordinary rabbit lives, but then a series of tragic events lead them on an exciting adventure of fighting for both their safety and good vs evil. The book is exciting and not gratuitously graphic but it might be a little intense for some young readers. There are battle scenes and the audio version has some very good sound effects.

“I really liked that the rabbits were able to fight off the villains. It was full of adventure and excitement. You never knew what was going to happen next.” Matthew, age 12

We thoroughly enjoyed this book and the others in this series. I always appreciate being able to give my children fun examples of bravery, valor, honestly, and other important values. C.S. Lewis once said, “Since it is so likely that (children) will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.” I think these books are a great example of offering our children stories of brave knights and heroic courage.

My daughter also really wanted me to mention Gooney Bird Greene as a G book that she really enjoyed. Gooney Bird Greene is about a young girl named Gooney Bird and her adventures at school. It is a great choice for students that are just getting into chapter books.

Have you read the Green Ember before? I noticed that it is currently free with kindle unlimited.  What is your favorite ‘G’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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You Are An Artist is having a spring sale right now on their courses included a great Easter course.

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Schoolhouse Teachers is also offering a great sale! If you want to give it a try, your first month is only $1 or you can get an entire year for $111. My daughter is getting ready to use a photography class from our subscription to help her learn more about her new (to her) camera.

April showers

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Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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F is for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

This week my daughter chose the book. This is the book that I assigned her to read last week and when she was finished she immediately asked me if I would chose it as the ‘F’ book in the series. It is a longer chapter book and so I had allowed up to two weeks for her to finish it but she had it done in about four days.

F is for pinterest

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From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a fun book about a girl and her brother who run away and live in an art museum for a little while. They have many adventures and meet a lady named Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. They also discover and solve a great mystery.

” I really liked it. I thought it was really neat how they slept in the museum and found Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I liked the mystery part of it as well. I would recommend this book for students that are in the mysteries in about fourth or fifth grade. I think it would be good for both boys and girls.”  Elizabeth, Age 11

I think this book speaks to the adventurous parts of our soul. So many times as children, we long for something exciting to help to break up the day-to-day routine. I know as a child I used to imagine myself having a grand adventure and solving a big mystery. Books like this allow us to live vicariously through the main characters and have adventures while never having to leave the comfort of our own homes.

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Have you read From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler before? What is your favorite ‘F’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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E is for Ellie’s People

Last April we had the privilege of traveling to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to visit some friends and see the sites. While were there my daughter enjoyed learning more about the Amish culture. Since she was so interested in the culture, my mom found the book Ellie by Mary Christner Borntrager for her as a part of her Christmas gifts.  Ellie is the first book in the Ellie’s People Series.

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Ellie pinterst

Ellie is also one of my daughter’s nicknames, so it seemed like a great book for her. In our hurricane relief efforts, our family has had the opportunity to meet and work with many different groups of Amish and Mennonite who have traveled to our church to help with the relief work. This has fueled my daughter’s interest in these unique cultures.

The author was born and raised Amish and uses the books to share the stories of her childhood and youth among the Amish people. Each book focuses on the story and life of one particular person (the namesake of that book) but also shares about others in the community. While these books are fiction, they include a lot of real information about the Amish culture and Mary Christner Brontrager’s childhood.  My daughter even mentioned that, “I like how it uses a few words of Pennsylvania Dutch and then includes an English translation for those words.” In Ellie we learn about Amish weddings, funerals, and other customs through the eyes and experiences of Ellie.

After reading Ellie, she asked us about getting more books in that series. I was able to get a good deal on a collection of them and she read them rapidly. Reading late into the night and each morning before she got up. I loved that she found books that she enjoyed that much and that were also helping her learn and appreciate more about another culture.

Have you read Ellie before? What is your favorite ‘E’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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D is for Danny and Daisy Dolphin

This week I chose a picture book that is near and dear to our hearts. My children have all loved this book (and the others in the series) and the fact that it is set in our home state of North Carolina. Though not as well known as some of the other books I have shared, it is a wonderful addition to any children’s library.

D is for Dolphin Pinterest

 

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Danny and Daisy: A Tale of A Dolphin Duo is book #13 in Suzanne Tate’s nature series. The beautiful illustrations are done by James Melvin. We have collected most of the books in this series and a few of her history books as well. They are all wonderful but Danny and Daisy was so well loved that my children wore out our first copy and I had to purchase a second copy.

Danny is a wild dolphin who needs help because he is alone and hungry. Since he is unable to get enough to eat or find his pod, he is brought to a science center to recover. There he meets his friend Daisy dolphin who was brought there because she had problems with her eyes. Together they have a great time and recover while also meeting lots of ‘helpful humans’.

This series of picture books is great for learning about different animals, mostly sea and beach animals, and how we can be ‘helpful humans’ and take care of the environment. They are short picture books that are fun to read and can be enjoyed my children of any age but I have found that my children particularly enjoy them from around ages 3-8. They could also be a fun way to introduce a science study about marine life with older students.

Have you read Danny and Daisy before? What is your favorite ‘D’ book? I would love for you to share in the comments and let us know.

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

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Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

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Homeschool Complete (Review)

What do you do with a child that is ready to start kindergarten work, when you are already balancing two other older children and a baby? You look for a product that will give him what he needs in a simple easy to use format that doesn’t take all day. I’m researching curriculum for my son who turns five next month and is in that very situation. Homeschool Complete offers full programs that are all inclusive and feature a unit study format. I decided to try out the first semester of Kindergarten Complete with my son and see how it worked with him and with our schedule.

The semester is broken up into various units including: All About My Family, Fall, Farm Animals, Zoo Animals, Winter, Sea Life, Martin Luther King Jr. and more.  Most of the units are about four lessons long with each lesson being one day’s work. They suggest using the unit for four days and having the fifth day of the week be activities of your own choice.

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homeschool complete pinterest corrected

My son was excited about ‘doing school’ and eager to try this program most days. I found that it took us between 45 and 60 minutes to do the lessons most days. He really enjoyed the math and reading components (which at this point were mostly read alouds with comprehension questions). He was starting to learn some of the letter sounds but struggled with those as well as the writing components. I felt like the math was moving at a really good pace. He could easily keep up but was not becoming bored.

He struggled to keep up with the writing even though it was mostly copying words that I had written. He enjoyed learning how to write his name but when he had to write other words, he seemed to struggle. This will vary based on the child and it is worth noting that he is on the younger side and another 6 months or a year’s worth of fine motor skills may make the writing much more attainable for him.

Each day they would go through their calendar activities, talking about the date, days of the week, moths of the year, etc. There was a short math lesson, followed by language arts which generally consisted of reading a book or passage aloud and then discussing it. Often the book or passage related to the theme of the unit study and included the science or social studies for the day.

Most days also include some type of enrichment activity. Also days often include a Bible lesson, physical education lesson, art lesson or music lesson.  These extras are typically very simple and easy to implement. For example, practice a low crawl for fire escape is one of the physical education ideas.   An example of an art lesson was to create colorful fall trees by painting with sponges.  One of the enrichment/science activities was carving a pumpkin and having the child feel the inside and then use adjectives to describe it.

I thought this program was well thought out and provided good coverage of the basics with some other fun activities. We are a very science and history heavy family and I would include more of that in our studies but those would be easy to supplement. If you are a family that starts those subjects later or puts less emphasis on them at a young age, there is probably plenty included in the curriculum.

In addition to the curriculum you do need to be prepared to purchase or borrow books for each unit. Many of them are fairly common and not difficult to find. We also utilized videos of a couple of them being read aloud on YouTube for books that we did not have. There are materials needed for some of the art and science projects but in general they are common materials or inexpensive. For example, we needed pennies for counting one day and paper and crayons for an activity.

Overall, if you are looking for a simple and easy to implement complete kindergarten curriculum Homeschool Complete may be a good choice for you. They also offer complete curriculum for grades first through fourth and unit studies for grades K-6. I encourage you to check out their website as well as the other crew reviews to see if this might be a good fit for your students.

**Update**  Homeschool Complete  is offering 10% off to our readers right now!! Just click on that link and use code CREW2019 through 3/31/2019. ***

Homeschool Complete K - 4th Grade & Unit Studies {Homeschool Complete Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

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This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

His Mercy Endureth Forever: A Picture Book Review

A few months ago I had the privilege of reviewing T is for Tree and so I was excited when RFPA contacted me to ask if I might also be willing to review a copy of His Mercy Endureth Forever: Psalm 136 which is a beautiful picture book based on the Psalm and illustrated by Kathleen DeJong.

winter artand a lesson onflexibility!-2

I had not told the children that the book was coming so they would be surprised when the package arrived.  They love opening mail and finding out it was a new book was very exciting. My four year old couldn’t wait to see the pictures and have me read the book, so we read it aloud that very night.

The first thing I noticed was that the outside of this hardcover book was simple but beautiful. It is a depiction of the night sky. The title is written in a mix of print and cursive. It is beautifully done, but may be a bit difficult to read for a new reader with the change in font and style.

On the inside, the words are quoted from the King James version of Psalms 136. This is a beautiful section of scripture that is great to speak into the hearts and minds of our children. The illustrations are lovely. There is writing on every other page with a full color illustration on the opposite page.  The pages with the words also have small monochromatic illustrations.

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Since there are a few words in that chapter that might be difficult for young children they have included a one page glossary in the back of the book. This page helps define words like endureth, mercy, and smote. They recommend the book for ages 6-9 which I think is a good range for independent reading but I think it is also a great book for reading aloud to younger children. The repetition in the Psalm makes it very appealing to preschoolers.

All in all, I thought this was a great way to share scripture with my children. The beautiful pictures helped to engage them with the words and I expect that this is a book we will return to time after time. I really appreciated that the scripture was exact and not paraphrased. If you are looking for a beautiful way to enjoy scriptures with your children, I encourage you to check out His Mercy Endureth Forever.

Disclaimer
I received a FREE copy of this product in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

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When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

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The NEW color edition of All About Reading is ready to order! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

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FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!

 

What is New With All About Reading?

Testing out All About Reading's new color edition level 4

If you have been following along on our homeschool journey, you may already know that one of the programs that we love and are most loyal to is All About Spelling. My oldest taught himself to read (with a little help from the leap frog videos) at the age of three but struggled with spelling. We had tried traditional spelling books, word walls, copy work, and other assorted programs and styles until I was at a loss. Finally, I found All About Spelling and it really clicked.

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At that time I did not switch over to All About Reading because both my oldest and my second child were already reading well and I was not looking for another phonics program. However, my third child will be five in a few months and start ‘Kindergarten’ next year which in our home means we will at least introduce him to a phonics program and see how things go. Depending on how he does with it, we may keep going or we may hold off a little longer until he is developmentally ready. In looking at various programs I have been highly considering All About Reading. I know that I will be using All About Spelling with him when the time comes and I love the idea of the two programs that are set up with similar styles and working together for an all around literacy program.

All About Reading's new color edition review

Knowing that I was considering it for next year, I was very excited to learn about their new color edition. The color makes it very visually appealing to young learners and can help with engagement. In addition to the full color activity books and heirloom quality readers they have also fully updated the teachers manuals with full color and an additional 56-72 pages of material per level.

I wanted to dig a little deeper and I was given the opportunity to try a sample lesson. I used a lesson from the level four program and gave it a try with my daughter. I knew going into it that it should be a review for her but I wanted to see how the style worked and what she thought of the new activities. She really enjoyed it and thought that the game she was able to play was a lot of fun. She told me that she thought the reading program was, “cool”. For this particular game she had a set of word cards that had a gopher on one side and the word with another gopher on the opposite side.  She had to pick up each card, read the word on the card correctly and then she could place the card through the slot on her paper that made it appear the gopher was going into his hole in the garden. It was quite simple but as she stated she really enjoyed it and it made the practice more fun.

The lesson we worked on taught the ph phonogram. First with the flashcard and repeating after the instruction that ph says /f/, two letter /f/. Then after a bit of review and practice you moved onto reading words using that phonogram and the other letter tiles. First together and then independently. Once you felt they had grasped the concept you could move onto the activity and further review as needed.

All About Reading is a great systematic way to teach phonics. Much like the spelling program it goes through each step making sure to teach both the rules and the exceptions. They do a good job incorporating various learning modalities throughout the program. I have found that even though I have memorized how to read or spell a word, there are rules that they teach that I never learned. This new updated program keeps all of those positives and adds in some extra helps for you as the teacher and the addition of the beautiful full color pages. I highly recommend that you take a look and see if this might be the right reading solution for your family. You can even try the sample lesson!

All About Reading

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

 

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the series are less than $1.

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Are you looking for a free Bible study that your whole family can enjoy? The Proverbial Homemaker is offering up a study of James that is FREE for a limited time.

Did you join us last week for the FREE five day activity challenge?

To keep the fun going, and keep making memories with your kids, Jamie has a program called The Activity Room that I know you’ll love, so I have to share about it just a bit, plus it is only open for enrollment a few times a year and enrollment JUST opened TODAY.

What this means for you, right now — is that The Activity Room is open for enrollment only through this Thursday, January 24th. After that time, she’ll close down to focus on her members and won’t open the doors again until May.