5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Language Arts, Literature Base

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Review!

Complimentary Product Received from Hewitt Learning!

We have been long-time users of Hewitt Learning Lightning Literature & Composition curricula. My son has completed grades 2nd-4th grade, I have also taught the 1st grade online. Each year our family has loved the curricula! Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide & Student Workbook is no different than the previous years and brings that same familiarity my son has grown to love.

Who is Hewitt Learning?

If you aren’t familiar with Hewitt Learning the company has always been at the forefront of supporting homeschool education since the early 1960. The company has since created award-winning literature-based curriculums for grades 1st-12 grade. They also have administered over 350,000 P.A.S.S tests to homeschool students for standardized testing. Along with the curriculum and standardized testing, they have ventured into the arena of STEM with their Innovators Challenge program. Hewitt Learning is currently developing an online component coming soon. This Fall their highly anticipated release of Kids Chemical Solutions is coming in the next few weeks.

About Lightening Literature & Composition Grade 5

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide & Student Workbook has kept that same standard of rigor. The curriculum is not religious. A complete set includes the Teachers Guide and Student Workbook. Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 is the last of 2 left in the elementary series until middle school. You have the option of purchasing the physical books or pdf. Their is a literature pack bundle if you would like to get the readers.

I love the design of the student book, the illustration are colorful and not overwhelming. There are 36 weeks of lessons which include grammar/mechanics and reading comprehension. Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 students will read nine novels. Students will also work on poetry which is included in the student text. The included poetry is new for us this year. In grade 4 we used a poetry book that my son LOVES and had me buy the sequel to the book.

The literature selections for this year’s curriculum are phenomenal. Every book selected for this year was on my to-be-read list. You can purchase the literature pack from the company or check them out from your local library. I was equally impressed by the inclusivity and diversity of the book selection. The very first-week students are The Mighty Miss Malone.

Gary, New York City, and the Deep South; they’ll journey to Canada, Europe, and Pakistan; they’ll travel from a hundred years in the past to some unknown time in the future; and they’ll explore a fantasy world peopled with strange characters.

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5

I love the student checklist that breaks down the chapters the students are responsible for reading for the week. The checklist also includes the grammar/mechanics as well as the composition assignment for the week. Each week has four days of written work including reading comprehension questions. The fifth day is reserved for finishing the final draft of the composition or extension lessons. Students are expected to work on their compositions throughout the week.

Students will also review sentences diagramming. My son loves to diagram sentences I am not a huge fan, but I do understand the reason behind learning the skill.

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 doesn’t include spelling, reading, and handwriting. These other disciplines can easily be supplemented and blended into the curriculum.

About the Teacher’s Guide

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide is comprehensive. The how-to-use sections provide parents with information on how to teach the lessons. I really like how the guide tells you to tailor the course to your needs. The teacher guide also includes a week at a glance for the lesson along with the answers to the student text. There are also extra resources available on the the companies website.

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide includes detailed help for guiding your student through writing their composition for the week. Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide is must have when working with your student, please don’t skip purchasing this guide.

How We Use

Okay, this isn’t our first time working with this curriculum, so I consider ourselves pros now. We have used both pdf and hard copies of Lightening Literature & Composition curriculums. I like both versions, but for this review, we are using the Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 hard copies. My son is a grammar monster he loves grammar. This year we have a spine English curriculum, but Lightening Literature & Composition Grade 5 is also being used alongside his spine as his independent work.

This year we are excited to use Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 and have already started listening to and reading week one novel. We use the novels from Lightening Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide & Student Workbook novels as our read-aloud. My son works on the lesson on his own and he does the compositions as part of his writing time on Fridays.

Parent Involvement and Preparation.

With any curriculum there is some level of parent involvement. With the upper elementary levels 4-5 grade students are on the independent track. I personally preview the lesson each week on Sunday and evaluate if this something my son can do on his own or do I need to review with him. I also enjoy reading/listening along to the literature so we use them as our read a-louds and do the reading comprehension questions together. If you purchase the hard copies you don’t need to prep the lessons you can tear them out the book and put in a binder or keep them in book. My son prefers I tear them out each week. If you feel you need to prep external resources for the lesson that is clearly up to you. The pdf version does need some preparation. The curriculum is low prep and requires parent involvement based upon your students capabilities.

Final Thoughts

Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 is a great curriculum it can be used as a stand-alone or combined with another spine. The lessons are short and in-depth. Students have plenty of practice over the week of the grammar and mechanics. After every five lessons, students will get a review of the previous lessons. The poetry is spread throughout the book over the course of 36 weeks.

Is it on grade level? Absolutely, actually above grade level in my opinion. My son works well in Lightning Literature & Composition curriculums, the literature picks are great and keep his interest. If your student doesn’t have a strong grammar background I would consider looking over the sample pages of each of the grade levels before purchasing. I would also recommend that if your students aren’t familiar with the writing process you give them a quick review or use the composition as a way of teaching them about the mechanics of writing.

Lightning Literature is a language arts curriculum designed to:

  • instill a love of literature in students,
  • expand their ability to read intelligently and deeply, and
  • prepare them for more advanced language arts concepts.
Hewitt Learning

Hewitt Learning’s website provides excellent sample pages of the curriculums and great customer service. At the time of this review Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 Teacher’s Guide & Student Workbook combo is on sale for $80.65 and the regular price is $84.90. If you would like to purchase the Lightning Lit — Gr-5 Pack w/Readers the cost is $154.33 on sale!

I highly recommend Lightning Literature & Composition Grade 5 we have used their curriculas for several years. One of the things I really enjoy about this curricula is their commitment to including divirsity in their booklist and illustrations. My son loves the books and academically they have been phenomenal. I think that curricula works well for those looking for a relaxed approach to grammar while being challenging. The upper grades provide checklist for students allowing them to be independant and a steward over thier learning. You can do the lessons as part of a morning basket and the learning schedule will fit into a loop homeschool schedule perfectly.

Until the Next Time,

Mom

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4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Curriculum, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, Language Arts, Literature Base, Unit Study

Progeny Press: Farmer Boy Study Guide Review!

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

We have never read any of the Laura Ingall book series, I know how could we be a homeschool family and never read any of her books? It’s simple for us my son and I didn’t find the books relatable as an African -Latino family. When the crew was given an opportunity to review Progeny Press Farmer Boy Study Guide 4-6 grade, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to check out the series.

Farmer Boy is the second book in The Little House series, the story follows the adventures of 9-year-old Almanzo Wilder as he works on his family’s farm. As the book moves through the different seasons we learn about the chores of a farmer boy and Almanzo’s many adventures in farm life.

We have previously reviewed two other Progeny Press study guides and have found them to be comprehensive literature guides. We received the pdf and answer key, you will need to purchase the book or you can use the audio. Farmer Boy Study Guide follows the same flow as the previous guides providing the student with:

  • Instructor Notes
  • Book Synopsis
  • Author & Historical Background

Students start the study guide with activity ideas for pre-reading the book. These activities can include reports, giving an informative speech, map work, and much more. The goal is to get your student’s mindest prepared for the book as it whisks them away to the Wilder farm at the turn of the century.

As the student moves through the study guide the lessons are divided into chapters, some lessons covering more than one chapter. Students will work on vocabulary, literary terms, comprehension questions, projects, and writing. You will see Biblical scriptures reference in some of the activities, but it isn’t overwhelming and can be easily skipped over if that is your preference.

I really do like Progeny Press study guides and the Farmer Boy Study Guide was a welcoming introduction to one of the Little House book series. I like how we can easily use the activities that will work well for us and do some activities orally. The study guide can be done over a period of time or it can be used just as your literature lesson for a month. One of the other things I do like about these study guides is that each study guide works on character-building and moral lessons. Farmer Boy Study Guide is for grades 4-6, so your student can work independently.

There are a few more Progeny Press study guides I plan to pick up over the next few years. I really like how they have organized their guides and it’s not a bunch of busy work. The guides are affordable and are in black and white so they don’t eat up your ink. Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews of Progeny Press study guides by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/progenypress
Twitter: https://twitter.com/progenypress
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/progenypress/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProgenyPress

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Art, Homeschool, Morning Basket

ARTistic Pursuits: Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2

I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew!

The crew was given the opportunity to review ARTistic Pursuits: Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2. It is an excellent opportunity to study again for this great company, we have reviewed several of their other levels they have been a pleasure to have in our home.

This year we shifted our homeschooling focus to a more relaxed Waldorfish curriculum. One of the benefits of this switch is incorporating more into our lesson. Most importantly use more watercolors in our artwork. I personally don’t have a lot of knowledge on water coloring painting so I am learning alongside my son. Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2 is not like typical watercolor instructions your student is using watercolor pencils! If you are not familiar with ARTistic Pursuits they have homeschooled art curricula with 8 eight levels for K-3, upper elementary, and middle school.

Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2 instructions are available on DVD/Blue Ray or digital access through your personal dashboard. You also can purchase the supplies kit to go along with the curriculum. There are 36 lesson illustrated lessons included in the hardcover book and 9 video lessons that are the same as the book. Mrs. Brenda breaks the lesson down in easy-to-follow steps. I really enjoyed the color swatch videos, because I know all watercolors aren’t created equal so it was nice that she went through these swatches with the different types of watercolor pencils. The introduction videos were very helpful in getting used started with watercolor painting because I wasn’t aware of the different colors and how they blend together and create beautiful masterpieces.

We slowly worked our way through lesson one of Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2, we learned about wash and line and hard and soft lines. My son instantly noticed that the amount of pressure you use with your open will determine the light and deepenest of the color when activated. Would you look at that I am using artist lingo…LOL! We practiced our technique a few times a week because we needed a lot of practice before we felt comfortable moving on. The online streaming service is a major plus with this curriculum because it allows you to have a personal lesson in your home at your pace.

Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2 is the second level in the upper elementary series. I really think we need to try out the first level, I was super excited to see the watercolors book and I choose this one to review, but my son said he wants the first one because he wants to learn how to draw like Mrs. Brenda. He always gets excited when a new ARTistic Pursuits book arrives in the mail. Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core 2 is a wonderful curriculum, I love the online streaming and the use of watercolor pencils I don’t feel as intimidated by using watercolors.

If you are a homeschool that is dipping their hands into water coloring I would highly recommend ARTistic Pursuits: Painting with Watercolor Pencils, Art Core. If you are interested in finding out more about ARTistic Pursuits be sure to click the banner below and read the other Crews reviews of ARTistic Pursuits curriculums.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/artisticpursuitsinc
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ARTisticPursui1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artisticpursuitsinc/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk75eIpDhZUqbr1On5xEQJQ

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, Homeschool, Homeschool Family, Unit Study

Five Senses Literature Lessons: Children of the Longhouse Unit Study!

Complimentary product received from Five Senses Literature Lessons

I am starting to lesson plan for our upcoming school year and one of the things I like to include is 3-4 unit studies each year. Last year my son had the opportunity to take classes with Kelly Tudor, if you are not familiar with Kelly Tudor she is a citizen of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas. She teaches Indigenous studies classes in Outschool, and she is a wealth of truth about Indigenous people. We love her classes and we will be taking full advantage of them again this year.

I mention Mrs. Tudor because we always do an Indigenous study between October and November. This year we will be using the Five Senses Literature Lessons ,Children of the Longhouse Unit Study.

About Five Senses Literature Lessons

Five Senses Literature Lessons were developed by an occupational therapist, turned homeschool. The lessons are secular and can be used as a full curriculum depending on the student. There are 4 levels instead of grade levels, the reason being the lesson is designed to appeal to all students based on their abilities.

You will see some overlapping of skills because not all children learn at the same pace and may need more time to develop skills. The literature lesson covers multiple academic disciplines such as:

  • History and Social Studies
  • Science and Math
  • Art and Health
  • Language Arts

Everything you need to teach these lessons is within the literature guide. Speaking of the lessons you will receive embedded video and resource links for each lesson which makes this guide easier to implement. You really don’t have to print out the guide itself just the appendix section that has all the printables you will need. I personally like to have both a hard copy (planning and note-taking reasons) and a digital version for the clickable links.

I want children to experience learning with their whole bodies. I want them to not only hear about something but taste it, feel it, talk about it and wonder about it beyond what they were shown. I do not believe that learning about history, science, art or language should hinge on how well a child can read or write.

Laura Sowdon – Five Senses Learning

Five Senses Literature Lessons work for children with disabilities as well as gifted children. The guides appeal to all learning styles and I really like that they were created by the occupational therapist because she has taken the time to really design a program that is relaxed and stress-free for both the learner and parent.

Children of the Longhouse Unit Study

Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is a part of the green level for students ages 8-12 years. The green level concentrates on historical fiction, critical thinking skills, independent learning, and ambitious hands-on activities. The creator of this unit study was very intentional to point out that the unit was about Appreciation not Appropriation I really like this because I don’t know how many times I have tossed a book or printable because of misappropriation.

There are 13 lessons that directly correlate with each chapter in the book. You will find a book list, how-to-use, supply list, pre-reading activities, and appendix. There is a detailed chart that tells you what subjects are going to be covered in each chapter lesson. Students will learn about Indigenous culture, herbology, sports, woodworking, food, anatomy, and first aid. I really appreciate the life skills included in the resource and recipes.

Last Thoughts!

I really like the Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study from Five Senses Literature Lessons. The unit has cut down my prep time for this year’s unit study on Indigenous Studies. I like the included book list for optional resources all I have to do is grab the books from the library. I do like she included the Wildcraft board game that has been one on my list for our homeschool. November is our slow-down month with homeschool so having all the integrated subjects included takes my mind off lesson planning for those subjects. We are working on independent learning this year so having some of the activities that encourage these skills is a major plus. Five Senses Literature Lessons are great for family studies and morning baskets.

Right now there are 7 unit studies available in the Five Senses shop. I am hoping that she will come out with some new unit studies. At the time of this review Children of the Longhouse, Unit Study is $9.95 and she is having a Summer Sale you can save 25% off with the code hotmom2022.

If you would like to see a full walkthrough of this unit be on the lookout for our video on Little Learner and Mom IG.

Until the Next Time!

Mom

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Critical Thinking and Logic

The Critical Thinking Co. Building Thinking Skills Level 2

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

The Critical Thinking Co. is definitely a familiar name in this house, my son has been using their products since he was 3 years old. Every year we add at least 1-2 books to our homeschooling year and sometimes books stretch into the next year. We were super happy to be able to add Building Thinking Skills Level 2 for grades 4- 6 to our upcoming school year.

Like most resources from The Critical Thinking Co., the concentration is to build logic skills. Building Thinking Skills Level 2 is a paperback book with 412 pages including the answer key. The pages can be reproduced for your personal use only. You can purchase the physical or the ebook for $36.99. We were sent the physical book for our use, I will probably end up removing the pages we use and photocopying for my son and have the book end cut off and the book coiled bound.

Building Thinking Skills Level 2 has ten chapters of higher-order thinking activities that include:

  • Logical Thinking
  • Sequences and Classifications
  • Analogies
  • Antonyms & Synonyms
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Similarities & Differences
  • Following & Writing Directions
  • Map Reading and much more

Building Thinking Skills Level 2 activities help your students to develop figural partial and verbal skills. The skills are in a sequence and highly recommend you go in order and monitor your student’s progress. What I really enjoy about the Building Thinking Skills Level 2 students will use math, reading, writing, and vocabulary as they work.

Building Thinking Skills Level 2 book is a great resource because it can be stretched over a 2-year period. I love having this option of being able to use a great resource over a period of time. Not only does this create consistency, but also saves money.

The Critical Thinking Co. is such a great company for resources for students and their parents. We have really enjoyed using several of their products throughout the years. We really enjoy receiving their free Math & Critical Thinking Worksheets. At the time of this review, the company is offering some great savings on purchases. If you are interested in reading our other review of The Critical Thinking Co. products feel free to click here.

Be sure to check out the other Crew’s reviews on The Critical Thinking Co. by clicking the banner below.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCriticalThinkingCo
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/criticalthinks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecriticalthinkingco/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/criticalthinks/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVEVNa6UpVqXxo_t5sbb7Q

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Education, Family, History, Homeschool

Beautiful Feet Books: Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State Review!

(Gifted)

Little Learner and Mom were once again given the honor of showcasing more of Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums. Our family was sent the Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State. I was very impressed by the selection of picture books and equally impressed by the books included in the rabbit trails and library recommendations.

When you think of history does California come to mind? Probably not, because when teaching US History we traditionally think about the eastern coast of the United States first and don’t usually venture further west until after the Civil War. Well while the east coast history plays a significant part in US History Beautiful Feet Book Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State brings the excitement about the West Coast.

Beautiful Feet Books curriculums are a Charlotte Mason-inspired. The company creators are homeschoolers themselves and have been inspiring families for 30 years with their beautiful illustrated literature.

To help homeschool parents ignite wonder and connect with their kids through the best stories and guided lessons.

Beautiful Feet Books History and Science History curriculums

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State starts its journey through California’s rich history with the Ice Age. Students will embark on learning about animals during this time period and natural disasters. My learner and I spent time researching the La Brea Tarpits and the weather conditions of the world during the Ice Age. I thought of some fun movies (Ice Age animated series) and suggested documentaries suggested in the lesson guide. Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State covers history, geography, nature study, culinary history, and art study. Each lesson is estimated to take an hour for grades 4-6. You can find a complete scope and sequence on the product page.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State includes:

  • Teacher Guide
  • 80 Multi-Sensory Lessons
  • Blank Notebook
  • 17 Books
  • Downloadable timeline sheet

What is intriguing about Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is the inclusive diversity of lessons presented. I was very pleased to see the inclusivity of African Americas and Asian Americans in the later lessons. Indigenous studies were included throughout the lessons as well which were done respectfully and with attention to detail. The selection of books was broad and packed with beautiful illustrations that held my 5th grader’s interest.

My son enjoyed the relaxed feel of learning about California he really spent time writing his journal and adding to his notes. We spent time painting, reading, and engaging in discussions about animals, culture, and global perspectives of California. We visited the story Kalifia as a rabbit trail we went down. He really enjoys geography, art, and culture.

Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State is meant to be covered in a complete school year. I can see how one can make this their entire year’s history because it is so much you can do that will combine other historical information about the US in this one curriculum. I hope that in the near future that Beautiful Feet Books will add more states because there is so much to unpack in US History.

What I did notice is when it was time to do the lessons we set up the environment. My son cleared our table and prepared a light snack, set out the materials, and turned on the diffuser with little lavender essential oils. I always made sure there was something art relative for us to do while I was reading the literature for that lesson. He did art, snacked and we talked. I don’t know what it was about setting up the environment this way but it made our lessons enjoyable and special.

We will be stretching this curriculum over the next 2 years and it will become our special interest history. I want to take our time with this one because along with what the curriculum provides I want to be able to include more historical information during certain time periods.

Library finds we added to our studies

At the time of this review Around California with Children’s Books Pack: A History of the Golden State cost is $252.95.

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Art, Charlotte Mason, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, History, Homeschool, Math, Reviews, Science

The Schoolnest History Notebook and Timeline Review!

Last year when my son and I were studying voting rights I remember the frustration I had writing down the timeline of the sequence of events on our board. I wanted him to have a visual keepsake of this important historical time period. So on our little whiteboard, I squeezed as much as I could and left it up there for a week as we studied. When it came time to erase it I took a picture of it and went on a hunt to find a way to record things for our history. What I was finding I wasn’t happy with so our timeline would have to live on my phone in the meantime. Then it happened The Schoolnest published a History Timeline notebook.

About The Schoolnest

Megan is a Michigan homeschool mom of 2 littles who is bringing love for learning through art, nature, creativity, and reading. Her approach to education is respecting the beauty of childhood and play. You can’t help but notice how she embraces Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, and Montessori philosophies in her homeschool. Her website is full of beautifully crafted simple journals, notebooks, and homeschool resources. She also writes a wonderful blog that is full of helpful ideas for parenting, homeschooling, art, and mindfulness. All are welcome on The Schoolnest website and blog, I found several diverse blog posts and literature recommendations.

I was so happy when Megan the founder of The Schoolnest launched her rainbow notebooks, from the first glance on her Instagram I knew I had to have them all. I purchased several of the notebooks for our school year then she published her History Timeline and it blew me away because it was exactly what I needed.

History Notebook and History Timeline

The History Timeline notebook is one the most unique books I have seen. The notebook gives you the ability to track history from:

  • Prehistory
  • Ancient
  • Middle Ages
  • Early Modern
  • Modern Times

What I feel like is a great family heirloom in History Timeline, is the beginning pages called “My History” I love these pages because we can record our family history and document things we felt were important to us during a year. The paper quality is excellent there are 115 pages and there are blank pages at the end. The entire is book is grid paper except for the dates, there is also B.C.E-C.E also included. There is plenty of space to write and post pictures, drawings, and clippings for creativity. The grid paper is excellent for writing and helping students contain their writings neatly. What I like about this timeline notebook is that it is just that a notebook. I can keep everything contained neatly in one spot and it is easy to flip through and we can use this 1 notebook over a long period of time.

The History Notebook is great for notebooking. We have used ours to notebook our unit study of Mesoamerica and currently, we are working on Ancient China. We study so much history in our home and notebooking has allowed him to have fun with notebooking. In the history notebook, there are 100 pages on the left page is 1/3 blank and the rest of the page is a grid. On the right side, the bottom is lined and the top is blank. There is a blank table of contents page and a study reference page. Kids can draw, color, cut and paste, make notes, and be creative. We have added pictures and written notes in our history notebook and added notebook printables. The paper quality is excellent, writes, glues, and colors smoothly.

Rainbow Notebooks

If you are looking to explore the other notebooks in The Schoolnest collection you will not be disappointed. So far we have collected:

  • Science
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics
  • Commonplace
  • Project Planner
  • Reading Journal
  • 4th Grade

All of the notebooks come in 12 vibrant rainbow colors, 8.5 x 11, matte softcover, and superior binding. The Schoolnest notebooks are inexpensive ($8) and can be purchased from Amazon. If you are in the market for a planner The Schoolnest has you covered she has a Homeschool Lesson Planning Notebook, you can check out a review of this great planner on Brittany Olga Youtube and Home Life with Quin 5 Instagram (Planner and Reading Journal) and check out Mama Sweet Baby (Spelling Notebook).

The Schoolnest notebooks are a must-have for your homeschool if you haven’t checked them out I highly recommend you do. We love our notebooks and I am looking forward to seeing any new books The Schoolnest publishes.

Blessings,

Mom and J

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1st Grade, 2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, dyslexia, Education, Games and Apps, Homeschool, Language Arts, spelling, Vocabulary, Writing

Mrs.Wordsmith Word Tag Review!

Complimentary review through Mrs. Wordsmith!

Are you looking to add some excitement to vocabulary building? Have you ever heard of Mrs. Wordsmith? Well if you haven’t heard about Mrs. Wordsmith what better way to introduce you to this company than telling you about their new app Word Tag.

Mrs. Wordsmith is an award-winning company based originally in the UK. The company was founded in 2015 by Sofia Fenuchell who wanted to create educational materials that actually worked and kids would love it. Using quality animations and game design to improve how kids learned vocabulary, Mrs. Worthsmith was born. Mrs. Wordsmith since their early beginning the company has grown and developed a full line of products for kids ages 4-13. The company has created books, games, curriculums, tons of free resources. We own several of the curriculums, books, and vocabulary sets. Mrs. Wordsmith’s newest addition to their line of literacy and vocabulary materials is the Word Tag app.

We were invited in July to join the team as a tester and my son has loved playing the Word Tag app. The company has taken video games to an entirely new level with fun vocabulary-building adventures. My son loves Hip-Hop culture so the game won him over instantly with the graffiti. The game takes place in Los Angeles, kids will go on a quest of collecting spray cans and spraying words while trying to avoid the street cleaners. Kids will complete daily activities at their paces, challenges, and pop quizzes.

With a methodology designed to teach challenging vocabulary, Word Tag boosts reading comprehension, advances creative and academic writing, and improves exam performance.

Mrs. Wordsmith

Word Tag 3D adventure is visually appealing to players and it encourages them to keep playing and learning new words. The kids are constantly reviewing the words they have learned. Kids will learn up to 1,000 words. Words a present in context to help reinforce their learning. The more words your student’s master more levels open for them to play. Players can earn more coins and unlock materials from the pop quizzes. I love how the words show the kids the definitions, parts of speech, and synonyms. The vocabulary the kids learn is Tier 2 academic words that are frequently used on SSSA. ISEE, SAT, STAR, and MAP exams. Word Tag also will increase your students reading levels.

Word Tag also allows students to connect with other players and their friends if they are using Word Tag to share the gameplay and compete with each other. Word Tag takes your student’s safety seriously and incorporated a safe social player. The program is adaptive and you will have access to player reports. The company also provides a parent guide that includes a sample word list and learning objectives.

So why does Word Tag work :

  • Active engagement
  • Word repetition
  • Learning progressin
  • Self-directed learning
  • Character-based learning

Our Review

I love Word Tag for all the reasons above I mentioned. I am familiar with the company and its products, so their brand is one I trust with my child. Now my son is crazy about Word Tag he was super excited when the Mall level opened for him and he has been playing non-stop. He said the graphics are cool and it is fun to learn the new words. The other great thing is he sees characters from Mrs. Wordsmith’s Storyteller’s Illustrated Dictionary, How to Write a Story, and Reading Comprehension Vocabulary.

I highly recommend you try out Mrs. Wordsmith’s Word Tag it is available on Apple Store and Google Play and is currently a free download.

Until the Next Time,

Mom & J

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3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Charlotte Mason, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, Homeschool, Read Alouds, Reviews

Heritage Mom: Civil Rights Movement

Complimentary product received!

If you don’t know who the Heritage Mom is I am super excited to be able to tell you about this wonderful blogger, mom, homeschooler, philanthropist, and Charlotte Mason guru. Okay so I had had the pleasure of meeting Amber O’Neal Johnston and once a member of her Heritage Homeschoolers group in Georgia and I can honestly tell you she is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have met during my homeschooling journey.

When Heritage Mom offered to have the Squad review 3 of her culture guides, I knew had to be part of this opportunity. Let me keep it real I own about 90 % of her culture guides already and we are still working our way through Amazing Africa. We own Schomburg, Heart and Soul, Harlem Ressianance Stomp, and now the Civil Rights Heritage culture guide. All of the culture guides are excellent, Heritage Mom gives you everything you need to use these guidesto teach African and African American history.

The Civil Rights Movement guide is divided into 10 topics of study starting the journey in the 1950s and ending with Civil Rights today. The guide is meant for grades 4-6 but you can review the suggested living books and materials you can stretch to 2nd grade. Civil Rights Movement is 36 weekly lessons now you can stretch to the entire 36 weeks or you can do more lessons a week. We are averaging 3 lessons a week in Amazing Africa, but after looking through the Civil Rights Movement guide we will spend a little more time on our lessons because is one of my son’s favorite areas of history to study. Anyone who says they were able to unpack any of her culture guides in 8 weeks, I can honestly say they didn’t give these carefully planned guides the respect they deserve.

The Civil Rights Heritage Pack is a survey of the brave men and women who risked their reputation, livelihoods, and often their very lives to press towards what they knew to be right.

Heritage Mom

The Civil Rights Movement includes two core books, you need to select one of these books to use with the guide, both reasonably priced. She also includes bonus books and recommends not substituting the core books because those books are impeded throughout the guide. She also has movie suggestions that hyperlinked and inserted disclaimers to prescreen them to make sure they are appropriate for your family. There are additional books used in the lesson plan, they are a nice mixture I love she included picture books and chapter books. Now that my son is reading more chapter books I miss those days of really great picture books. I found all the books listed in the lesson plan at my local library. There are also additional books for older or advanced children but these books are not scheduled in the lesson plans.

The lesson plans are easy to follow, with clickable links that take you to videos and she tells you what book you will be using and pages to read. There are 4 weeks of plans one page. The culture guides are meant to be just that guides, if you are looking for a long-drawn-out lesson plan with tons of writing and worksheets you aren’t going to find it in this guide. Amber O’Neal is a Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooler and her guides are written in that way of homeschooling. These guides are literature-based and meant to allow you and your student to explore and go down rabbit holes.

Out of respect for her and all her hard work you won’t see pictures of pictures of her hard work in this review. You can literally go on her social media and you will feel the admiration so many people have for these creative works. Each guide of the Heritage Mom packs are filled with so much potential you can stretch these materials for years to come.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Charlotte Mason, Curriculum, dyslexia, Education, Family, Homeschool, Language Arts, Literature Base, Morning Basket, Parenting, Read Alouds, Reviews, Writing

Brave Writer Arrow: Amari and the Night Brothers Review

Complimentary product received through Melanated Gold Review Squad!

This year I was confident in my choices for grammar and writing until mid-August when I started to notice my son was less than enthused about his lessons. Observing his lack of enthusiasm I started to think we may need a change. We have used the same curriculum for the last 2 years and he has a pretty solid foundation in grammar, but writing is still a work in progress. I was thrilled when the opportunity to review Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers was made available to our family. So here we are taking the leap and using Brave Writer Arrow and we are loving it.

About Brave Writer

Brave Writer uses a Charlotte Mason-inspired approach to teach grammar and writing. The goal is to continue to strengthen the parent and child bond by creating a safe environment to learn and work at their own pace. Brave Writer programs are designed to be the complete opposite of the traditional learning style of grammar and writing. Brave Writer supports the whole child and lets them be in control of the process with the parent gently leading them. Brave Writer program believes students go through different stages of writing and each stage deserves respect and students should only progress when they are ready for the next stage. The growth stage of writers are :

Jot It Down

Partnerships in Writing

Faltering Ownership

Transition to Ownership

Eavesdropping on the Great Conversation

The growth stages start at ages 5-18 years old and students will work on mechanics and literature through online classes or using one of the product packets such as Arrow.

Arrow

Arrow is a digital year-long writing and grammar program for students ages 11-12. Families can purchase the entire year’s bundle and each month you will receive the Literature Arrow guide or you can purchase individually. With your purchase, you will receive the Arrow guidelines and the literature guide. The Arrow guideline teaches you how to present the literature guide. Arrow literature guides cover spelling, literary elements, writing activity, punctuation, and grammar, each monthly lesson is paired with a novel. Each week the lesson directly correlates with the novel. The monthly lessons are divided into 4 weeks, which include vocabulary, dictation, and grammar. The guides also come with discussion questions, a planner, a skills tracker, and book party ideas. There are 10 Arrow guides for a complete school year older guides are available to purchase, but new books are added every year.

We teach both parents and kids how to build a partnership in writing that leads to both creative expression and academic success, all while preserving the parent-child bond.

Brave Writer

Our Review

Amari and the Night Brothers have been on our list to read since it was released so I was super excited to have a literature, grammar, and writing guide to pair with it. At first look, I knew I had to sit down and prepare for working with a non-traditional way of teaching grammar and writing. The biggest issue had was letting go of my thinking of how grammar and writing are taught. Once I was able to release this way of thinking it made the transition easier. My son and I decided we would both read and listen to the book. I really enjoyed the cultural context section it gives background information on the novel, this little information was really nice and helped us better connect to the book because we are actually living 20 mins away from the Atlanta area.

Arrow is really the complete opposite of a traditional grammar and wiring curriculum, I was expecting to see some worksheet practice sheets and a huge writing assignment for this novel. I was blown away because what expected was not what I received. The Arrow guide gives you a quick start that instructs you to read the Arrow Guidelines. The Arrow Guidelines are key to understanding how to implement the Arrow program, not reading these will confuse you about the literature Guide. The guide also gives you sample routines and it is where you will find the Arrow Skills Trackers and Our Week With Arrow.

The Spin and Spiral told me exactly what we were going to be covering in this month’s literature guide. I pulled a couple of extra supplements, just in case. I was blown away by how Brave Writer uses a novel to teach grammar, in a million years I would have never thought to pull passages out of a book and examine the grammar components. My son was introduced to writing and literary elements such as how to indent, first-person narratives, and dialogue, and much more over the 4 weeks. The grammar areas are highlighted in what Brave Writer calls Spotlights, we found the grammar sections a welcomed review of concepts he has covered previously. What I did appreciate is that I was able to identify some areas of his grammar that he needed more practice on.

Students will tackle:

  • Proper Nouns
  • Commas
  • Conjunctions
  • Idioms
  • Pronouns
  • Parallel Structure and much more

What I like about Brave Writer is that my son and I were having meaningful conversations about the book and we talked about grammar in a new way that he was really thriving and loving. He asked several times mom can we do Brave Writer over his current language arts curricula. I begin to see both of our frustration and stress levels come all the way down while using Arrow. We went from fighting over getting his lesson done to letting us just talk, drink tea, and enjoy each as we learn.

Dication for us is something new we haven’t done much of this type of writing before so we took things very slow and I assured him that we weren’t in a rush and we are both learning how to do things. I did the first dication for him just to show him how. We did 1-2 sentences at a time so he didn’t feel overwhelmed moving forward. We did modify a few things to make it work for us, we used highlighters to highlight the grammar and literary elements in the literature guide. My son didn’t want to mark up his book and I was okay with this. I also printed my son his own the literature guide, I used mine on my tablet but I did have the Arrow guidelines printed out for myself.

Parent Involvement

By now you may realize that parent involvement is a necessity for the Brave Writer Arrow curriculum. The program does require the parent to be their child’s partner in this process. That brings me to the Brave Writer Partnerships in Writing growing writers stage one of the most overlooked stages according to the Brave Writer website. “Your child shows growing proficiency in handwriting, reading, and spelling, but still finds the hard work of transcription tiring if asked to write for more than a few minutes.” We didn’t receive this to review, but after using the Amari and the Night Brothers Arrow, I feel that this is something we will need in order for us to continue forward with the Arrow curriculum.

Final Words

We really like Brave Writer Arrow Amari and the Night Brothers, my son has requested to do this over his current language arts curricula. We have put what we were using on the shelf and have moved on to the November 2021 Brave Writer Arrow Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids. I will be looking into Partnerships in Writing for us as well. It has been so nice to have a great month of learning and enjoying our time together making memories. At the time of this review for the full program is $129 or $14.95 per literature guide (includes Arrow guidelines). To learn more about Brave Writer programs please click the banner below to read more of the Melanated Gold Review Squad reviews.

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