Curriculum, Family, Family Life, Homeschool Family, mindfulness, Writing

52 List Projects: Journaling Inspiration for Kids!!

I received My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS from Timberdoodle Co. in exchange for my fair and honest review.

The last 2 years have been quite a roller coaster for everyone. Lately, I have been feeling like my son has lost a little of our connection. It could be just we are just overwhelmed with being in quarantine for so long and the entire family has relied a little more on screens which have allowed for some disconnection. I have been having some major mom guilt about not spending real quality time with my 9-year-old and I was looking for a way to bring us closer.

One of the things we ha My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. After looking through the book for my son I bought the adult version for myself. My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS so happens to be included in the Timberdoodle Co 6th grade curriculum kit.

The My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is a great way for your student to spend thinking and writing about things that matter to them most Kids will enjoy the fun list of prompts that help them reclaim their inspirations and aspirations. My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is perfect for kids who are 8-12 years old. It’s during these years kids really start to come into their own and their personalities really start to shine.

My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS helps students to build “grit, self-knowledge, and acceptance”. Through completing the weekly list prompts with affirmations and parent support your child can navigate their way through adolescence with confidence. There is a “Grown-Up’s Guide” available long on the 52 List website that lays out 6 ways to offer support:

  • Participate and connect
  • Build accountability
  • Offer hands-on help
  • Give older or more sensitive kids extra space
  • Encourage group journaling
  • Listen and honor kid’s privacy

I found these 6 ways very helpful because the mom in me had to let go of the let me help you figure this out and just let him do it for himself. Each week asked him if he wanted help or if he wanted me to read his list. The layout of the journal is very simple there is 52 kit that is to be done over the course of 52 weeks so that is one list a week. The writing prompt is listed on the top and below students have 2 pages to write their thoughts. Kids are not limited to just writing they can do whatever they want on these pages, the journal also includes stickers.

How We Used

I decided that our journal time would be on Friday mornings after breakfast, I brew us some tea and set out both of our journals and special journaling pens. We chat a little about the week and what is to come over the weekend. Turn on a little Lo-Fi Hip-Hop and begin to write. There is no time limit we just spend this time humming to music, sipping tea, and enjoying our time together.

The “Grown-Up’s Guide” also offers talking points for each list in the My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. I review these conversation starters the night before or while the tea is brewing. I personally didn’t want to have the guide on the table with me because I wanted to have this space free from clutter. Our journal time is meant to reaffirm our relationship and build his confidence. He has really enjoyed the last few weeks of our journaling in My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS.

So we’re slowly moving into our new homeschool year and I asked him what are some things he would like for us to continue to do, he immediately said he wants to continue our Friday journal time and has asked if his dad can get his own 52 List journal to join us some Fridays when he is home.

Final Thoughts

I have seen a great improvement in my son’s writing and creativity since using the My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS. We are talking more and I have noticed a decline in his anxiety and attention to detail. We have experienced some WOW moments and had some heart-to-heart conversations. This has been a great way to kick off weekends because we plan family games and movie night activities. I highly recommend My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS for your kiddos ages 8-12 years. This is a great journal for back to school or the start of the new year. Kids can write before bed or just when they need to decompress and express themselves. A great addition to the morning basket and poetry tea time or if you just want to have some quiet time. This is also great for self-esteem building and a growth mindset.

My 52 List Project: Journaling Inspiration for KIDS is available for individual purchase from Timberdoodle Co as well as it is included in Timberdoodle Co 6th grade curriculum kit. Be sure to check Timberdoodle Co. for your upcoming homeschool year and back to school needs by clicking the banner below.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Curriculum, Education, Homeschool, Writing

Memoria Press: Classical Composition I Fables!

Complimentary Product Received!

We are on a journey to find a supplement for our 5th-grade writing curriculum, so I have been considering a few options. The Squad was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press Classical Composition I: Fable Set for grade 4+.

Memoria Press is considered to be one of the leading companies in classical Christian education curriculums. The creates a curriculum that follows the classical education philosophy of liberal arts, quality literature, and the great thinkers of the western tradition. A great deal of Memoria Press curriculums contains Christian values and biblical scriptures. I personally didn’t find the Christian additions overwhelming or indoctrinating and I have reviewed several of Memoria Press‘s curriculums.

Classical Composition I: Fable Set

Classical Composition I: Fable Set comes with a teacher and student guide. The set we received came with the DVD but the company also has a streaming option. I will be reaching out to the company to inquire about receiving the streaming service because we don’t own a DVD player. I was able to find some helpful videos on the Memori Press Youtube channel.

There are 20 lessons to be completed each lesson is broken down into 4 pages. The Fable stage covers the first 14 steps to mastering writing. In the Fable stage, the students learn 3 plot components:

  • Recogintion – teaches to look parts of the story they can relate to.
  • Reversal – teaches to students identify the characters and see when their character roles reverse in the story.
  • Suffering – the conflict.

The students then move on to the variation section in which they have to come up with 3 synonyms for the words listed and then use the words they come up with in sentences. I highly recommend having a thesaurus or dictionary handy when doing this activity especially if you don’t have a student who has yet tapped into their creative writing. In the outline portion of the lesson, students will summarize the fable.

Paraphrase the students will rewrite the fable using anemographic, dendrographia, and ethopoeia . I know what you thinking WHAT, trust me when I say I was right there with you on this one. The teacher’s guide is a lifesaver with this curriculum you need this don’t skip it. Students need to use their online and variation part one to complete this part. Then students will need to rewrite the fable by reduction, meaning they need to pull out key details and leave out the extra details in their writing. Lastly, there are Variations part 2 which is a direct repeat of the Variations part 1, but with different words.

Our Review

Okay so I know I said a mouthful above and trust me if you have the opportunity to look over Classical Composition I: Fable Set you will get a better grasp of the flow of the lessons. You can also check out samples of lessons on the Classical Composition I: Fable Set product details page. At first a little unsure about this type of writing because it isn’t how I learned to write and I thought my son wouldn’t be really interested in the flow. After reading the teacher’s guide and looking over the lessons I started to really understand the flow a little better and how this really works for a student who is a creative or logical writer. My son doesn’t love to write but I think because this guided writing he isn’t left to just figure it out himself. While I know you may be thinking wouldn’t this just be the student copying another person’s work? In reality, they aren’t copying the work they are rather enhancing it and putting their own spin on it. I do like that it encourages the use of outlining because this is something I am very familiar with myself.

Classical Composition I: Fable there is parent involvement needed especially in those first few lessons. The DVD/Streaming is of great need for this curriculum, I wish I would have had access to the live streaming. If your student has not had any formal mechanics in writing lessons I highly recommend you review these skills before starting. I would recommend looking at Memoria Press Introduction to Composition. Classical Composition I: Fable will help your student learn how to organize writings and encourage some creative writings of other’s works which will hopefully translate into their own writings.

Classical Composition I: Fable is a contender for our upcoming 5th-grade writing curriculum. It would be used as a supplement to our spine for creative writing and switching things up.

Until the next time,

Mom and J

Education, Grammar, Homeschool, Language Arts, Writing

Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Fix it Grammar Levels 2 and 3

Complimentary product received!

When I was in school I didn’t love grammar, but since I have been homeschooling my son I have learned to love it. I am not the best at it but I am relearning along the way with him. We were sent Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse for grades 3-5th and Level 3 Robin Hood for grades 6-8th.

It was such a coincidence that I was getting ready to start my son on the older version of Level 2 Robin Hood when Institute for Excellence in Writing released the new books. I like the old books but I LOVE the new books. The redesign of the new books is super exciting. I love how the company added another book to the Fix-It Grammar lineup. The new Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse is a perfect bridge from Nose Tree.

We are very familiar with Institute for Excellence in Writing we have used Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A Basic and the original Level 1 Nose Tree. I have really liked using both of the above mention products so I was really excited when I was asked to review the newly released Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood.

The new revised edition upgrades still feature the read it, mark it, fix it patterns which can be done in any order. The revised also includes:

  • Table of Contents
  • Proofreading chart
  • Scope and sequence charts
  • Weekly Vocabulary chart
  • List of Grammar Fixes
  • Indiviual daily pages
  • Writing space

My son has a strong grammar foundation and I was looking for a program that I could add as a complement to our current spine grammar curricula and Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse are perfect. Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood is 30 weeks of comprehensive incremental grammar lessons. There is a detailed scope and sequence on the Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse product detail page under the samples tab. Students will cover lessons that cover:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Captialization
  • Commas
  • Clauses
  • Homophones
  • Stylistic Techniques and much more.

The Level 3 Robin Hood also covers the same items of targeted grammar and mechanics. It reviews the concepts of the previous level while adding:

  • Additonal Comma Rules
  • Various phrasel/ Clause Concstructions
  • Quotations
  • Indefinite/ Demostrative/ Reflexive Pronouns
  • Much more

You can also find a sample of the scope and sequence of Level 3 Robin Hood on the product detail page under the samples tab. We haven’t started working in Level 3 Robin Hood as of yet because we started in Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse. We did however start working on the older version because that was originally the next level after the older version of Nose Tree. The company inserted the new Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse so now Level 3 Robin Hood is the 3rd book in the series. The insertion of a new level 2 is a great bridge between level 1 and level 3. I did feel like the old level 2 of Robin Hood was really heavy coming from Nose Tree.

I started my son in the Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse because we are working on a rigorous grammar curriculum and I wanted to use Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse as a way to lighten his load 3 days a week. We are currently on week 7 and he has really enjoyed working the lessons. At the beginning of each weekly lesson I sit down with him and go over the grammar instruction and for the rest of the week, he works on the lessons independently. Students only have to complete 4 days of lessons. So how do lessons go:

  1. Students learns or reviews grammar concept at the beginning of the week
  2. Check the bold vocabulary word (learn defination)
  3. Search for the grammar concepts in passage and correct puncuation
  4. Rewrite passage with corrections

The new design of the Fixt Grammar Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse and Level 3 Robin Hood is perfect because all of his work can be completed in the student book. Each day has its own page, unlike the old version where each sentence from the passage was to be completed on one page on a small line.

How We Do a Lessons

At the top of the lesson page, students have a list of what grammar concepts they need to search for and how they should identify them. I put little highlighted dots next to each one and I tell my son to check off each one he has found. The very top line of the rewrite area my son uses that for his vocabulary word definition. The Level 2 Town Mouse and Country Mouse has primary lines for writing and Level 3 Robin Hood has regular lines with plenty of room for those students that like to write large.

Both of the levels include a downloadable vocabulary list that you can download and retrieve from your files on IEW. We also received the new Fix-It Grammar Cards I LOVE THESE!!!! You have no idea how much I love these cards we use them across our spine grammar curriculum. It is so hard to find grammar cards that are high quality and comprehensive. The great part is that the Fix-It Grammar Cards can use alongside all 6 levels of Fix-it Grammar books.

Looking to check out the other levels of Fix-It Grammar check out the other squad’s reviews by clicking the banner below and if you are curious out Structure and Style for Students: Year 1 Level A Basic review click this link here. Institute for Excellence in Writing Structure and Style for Students series is a great complement to Fix It Grammar levels. Be sure to be on the lookout for our upcoming review of Level 4 Mowgli and Shere Khan.

Until the next time,

Mom and J

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Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Language Arts, Vocabulary, Writing

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town Review!

Complimentary Product Received!

This homeschool year has been difficult choosing a language curriculum. I decided to go with the curriculum we had last year, but that was an epic fail. After 3 months of trying to find a new language arts program before our 2nd semester started, I ran across Royal Fireworks Press language arts curricula Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town. The Melanated Gold Squad was offered the opportunity to review MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package and I was selected to review it.

My son is newly turned 9 and he loves grammar, we noticed early on he was gifted in this area of his homeschool studies. Finding a grammar curriculum that was both rigorous and amusing has become arduous. This year alone we have set aside 3 curriculums and decided on multiple review books. Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town has been the curriculum we needed to feed his ferocious grammar inclinations.

Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is for students ages 9-11 in grades 4-5. Grammar Town picks up where Grammar Island leaves off with the continued practice of the “4 grammar analysis of (1) parts of speech, (2) parts of the sentence, (3) phrases, and (4) clauses.” No worries if you haven’t done the previous level as long as your student has a strong understanding of grammar they will be alright with starting level 2, but I wouldn’t recommend jumping into level 3 without previously doing level 3. Even though the curriculum is presented for children who are gifted/dyslexic I have found that children who are able to read fluently and have strong reading comprehension will find this curriculum gratifying.

Level 2 : Grammar Town Layout

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is beautifully designed with simple distinctive vibrant illustrations. The curriculum covers 5 strands Grammar (Grammar Practice), Vocabulary, Writing, Poetics, and Literature. The complete homeschool package comes with a lesson guide, student books, and teacher’s manuals (this includes the readers) for each of the MCT sections. The program in my opinion is designed to be conversational. MCT is not like your typical language arts curriculums you will not find the typical question and answer busy work. The lessons are intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking. I found myself relearning and grasping a better understanding of grammar. My son instantly took to the Grammar Town book, he repeatedly would point out how he better understood grammar concepts.

There are 30 weekly lessons of MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town the lessons are designed to gradually include the other textbooks included in the MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package. Students should work at their own pace and make sure they have a complete mastery of the Grammar Town book before moving on to the next book. There are assessment pages in the books, but you can also download the assessment pages from a link provided by Royal Fireworks Press inside the book. The assessment pages are there to make sure your student is mastering the materials before moving on to the next section in the book. These assessment pages are not the same as Practice Town.

The very first-week students are to read the Grammar Town book on their own. I was amazed to see how intrigued my son was by the illustrations and the story. Several times he came to me and asked questions and wanted to discuss the stories. On the days we didn’t do lessons he requested MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town over his other language arts books.

Today lesson was intellectually restorative….Learning about the complexity of sentence structure and how all the the words we use in sentences are reflective of the 8 parts of speech that make a sentence cohesive. Thinking about it from that point of view makes sense into why a sentence must a have a subject and verb.

J

Caesar’s English is the vocabulary section students will embark on a historical language journey. Students will learn Latin roots, history, and word origins. Again students are exposed to wonderful visual and practice pages. Students will also see a brief intro to Latin roots in Grammar Town on the first pages. Practice Town includes 100 sentences of practice for students on the skills learned in Grammar Town and writing. Paragraph Town is another fun-filled narrative about learning paragraph fundamentals and punctuation. The poetry book Building Poems is metaphoric it is written to teach students poetry terms as if they are constructing a building. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town includes the literature books:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Peter Pan
  • The Wind in the Willows

Each book is reproduced in its entirety and includes Michael’s “language illustrations”—close-ups of poetic techniques, four-level analyses of interesting grammar, and comments about writing strategies

Royal Fireworks Press

How We Used MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town

For the first 3 weeks, we used the curriculum as the implementation guide suggests. I made little tweaks here in there. My son was introduced to some Latin roots and I wrote these roots on index cards for him. I also wrote out grammar cards for him of all of the parts of speech components. We also put together a vocabulary journal for words we were instructed to define. My son enjoyed the assignments on select pages, some of these we did in his notebook, and some we did on a dry erase board. The lessons are short we spent time in meaningful discussions.

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town was used daily for the first 3 weeks and I added in some supplemental resources just to ensure mastery. After week 3 we went to a 3-day-a-week schedule and 2 days a week supplemental materials. I was sure to use supplemental material that would complement MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town. Overall my son prefers MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town over his previous language arts curriculum and I have shelved what we were using prior. We are in week 6 of the suggested implementation lesson guide and have begun using Caesar’s English I, Classical Education Color Edition.

Wrap up

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is a rigorous and complete language arts program. If you are looking for a new way to introduce grammar to your student I highly recommend this curriculum. The curriculum does require parent involvement in my opinion wasn’t intense and I welcomed it. I enjoyed having conversations with him and seeing his face light up. The curriculum is designed for mastery and it is suggested you don’t move on until your student has mastered each section.

While the literature part I thought was going to be monotonous. I understand why the books were selected and remastered to complement the curriculum. I do hope in the future the company would consider adding some optional remastered diverse readers.

Would I buy Level 3 in the Fall absolutely! I again caution against not jumping into level 3 without going through level 2. You can get away with not doing Level 1, but making that jump into level 3 is not advisable. The levels don’t coordinate with the grade levels so please take note of this. If you are the type of homeschooler that needs tons of worksheets after each lesson this is not the curriculum for you. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town is in a class by itself rigor without the complexity of busywork, this was more of relaxed conversational language arts. MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town takes its time to ensure students really understand language and how they work together. I learned so much in the last 6 weeks reviewing MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town.

MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town works on this sequence per their website:

  1. Do grammar first.
  2. Begin the vocabulary text after you finish the parts of speech in the grammar book.
  3. Begin the practice book after the entire text of the grammar book is complete.
  4. Begin the writing text once the four-level analysis is strong, as seen in the practice sentences.
  5. Begin the poetics text after the writing book is complete to develop expertise in controlling the sounds of sentences.
  6. Extend the curriculum with literature.

Royal Fireworks Press provides Overview Chart, Elementary Guide, and Secondary Guide on their website. There are seven levels to the MCT Language Arts program and there are also implementation videos.

The cost of MCT Level 2 Complete Homeschool Package is $290 the company is also converting their books into Kindle format which may help you cut costs. This program is comprehensive and worth the cost. I highly recommend MCT Language Arts: Level 2 Grammar Town if you are looking for a different way to teach language arts. Be sure to check out the other squad’s reviews of Royal Fireworks Press curriculums.

Until the Next,

Mom and J

Education, Family, Homeschool, Writing

Typesy Review !

Complimentary Product Received.

Did you take typing or keyboarding in high school? Well, I did and it was BORING!!!! I suffered through a semester of typing on an old-school electric typewriter. Fast forward a few years and now have your own kiddos and technology is forever changing. Kids spend more time on tablets and computers, the need for learning how to properly type is important skill students need. The Melanated Gold Review Squad was given Typesy Homeschool accounts for up to 5 students to review.

About Typesy

Typesy is an interactive online typing program that combines curriculum-based lessons to improve students typing and overall academics. The program includes the Typesy kid’s curriculum for students K-10. Students will learn to type across ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies passages no more gibberish we all knew.

Typesy program provides:

  • Over 4,000 lessons
  • 3D Animated Story Based Teaching
  • Fun Games
  • Tracking
  • Parent Dashboard
  • Student Logins

How We Used Typsey

Using Typesy this last few weeks has been my son’s first introduction to typing. Now he does use a computer on a regular basis but his typing skills need some work. Typsey 2.0 Curriculum 4th- 5th grade starts students off with the basics of learning the home row keys combing ELA skills such as similes metaphors and narratives. Parents can print out the helpful guide to use along with students’ homeschool ELA lessons. Students build confidence as they practice with gentle encouragement and practice from the program.

My son enjoyed playing the games and learning the proper way to place his hands on the keyboard. He also has told me he noticed it easier for him to find the letters now that he is practicing his typing. I personally like that I can import his spelling words into Typesy word bank. Typsey also teaches students computer basics, web skills, google suite, career skills, vocabulary, and much more.

Typesy Homeschool is more than just a typing program, the additional programs and lessons are of huge value for homeschoolers. The program is affordable and can be useful for the whole family. I found myself testing my own typing skills and realized I was a little rusty on WPM.

I recommend Typesy Homeschool, gone are the days of those weird typing gibberish. Students can learn while they practice typing. Typesy Homeschool extended learning resources stand out above other typing programs. If you would like to learn more about Typesy Homeschool check out the other Melanated Gold Review Squad reviews by clicking the banner below.

3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Art, Charlotte Mason, Critical Thinking and Logic, Curriculum, Education, Family, Geography, History, Homeschool, Language Arts, Literature Base, Math, Read Alouds, Reviews, S.T.E.A.M, Science, Writing

The Learn & Live: Mesoamerica Review

Complimentary product received from The Learn & Live Letter!

This post contains affiliate links at no extra charge to you the reader.

As a homeschool mom, I have always been stuck on what part of history to teach in our home and how. There are so many wonderful curricula you can choose from, but if you are looking for true gentle history the choices tend to narrow down immensely. We enjoy unit study learning in our home and at times we just want to step away from traditional textbook history and have fun. I was really happy when The Learn & Live Letter ladies reached out to me to check out their November Mesoamerica unit.

About The Learn & Live Letter

The Learn & Live Letter was created by two homeschool moms who wanted to bring the joy of play-based learning to their children. They created their own homeschools around the philosophy of interested-led and hands-on learning. Cynthia and Justine enlisted the help of several well-known highly qualified contributors in the education and homeschool community to help create monthly themed 4-week play-based learning units. Each unit covers science, history, geography, art, music, math, reading, and writing. The Learn & Live Letter also embraces the Charlotte Mason approach, you won’t find worksheets or busy work in these monthly themed units. If you are wondering about the diversity of The Learn & Live Letter team you will not be disappointed.

Because learning comes naturally to your child’s development. They learn with and by the world around them—and, as parents and caretakers, all we have to do is open that door.

The Learn & Live Letter

The Learn & Live Letter units are designed for the homeschool parent, while non-homeschool families can benefit from this wonderful program, the design is for that homeschool parent. There are 3 levels to choose from level 1 (3 to 5 ), Level 2 (5 to 7), and level 3 (7 to 12). Families can choose to do a monthly subscription or a yearly subscription. The yearly subscription would guarantee you 36 weeks of lessons. Each level is different and provides age-appropriate activities. The units come to you via email and you click the link that will take you to your levels monthly instruction pages. The company also provides you a schedule of when you will receive the next unit’s email which is always a week before the upcoming month. There is also scope and sequence you can look at which is great for pacing and lining up your lessons. The company is still growing so the 2022 lineup is still building.

November Mesoamerica Unit

Mesoamerica Unit !

Our unit to review for you is the Level 3 November Mesoamerica unit. The Mesoamerica unit took us on a journey to Mexico and South America. Each week comes with its own supply list, resources, and embedded links. Everything you need is in your weekly guide you can add to it if you like, but you are fine with just the items they list. We studied about the Mayans, Aztecs, and Olmecs. The Mesoamerica unit captured my son’s interest he was intrigued to learn about these wonderful ancient Indigenous tribes’ culture, history, and contributions to civilization. For 2 weeks he was stuck on learning about the Olmecs and I let him stay in this history as long as he liked. We created terra cotta pottery, tried to play the Mayan game Ulama which gave us all quite a workout, and we built the Temple of Kukulkan out of legos.

November Mesoamerica Unit

Each monthly 4-week unit has 5 lessons each lesson has 2 – 4 activities. What I did notice is that Lesson 1 of each week usually had 2 activities that focused on geography or history for that week. You do not have to do each activity in each lesson. We average 2-3 activities each lesson, but because we plan to do this unit again I left wiggle room for next year. While we worked on the Mesoamerica unit we discovered there were many other ancient indigenous tribes so we will look into these next year. I highly recommend you bookmark the monthly units link on your iPad or tablet. I also printed out each week. The company also provides you with a skills/activity tracker.

The Learn & Live Letter units provide gentle history if you follow me you know I teach gentle truth history in our home. The Learn & Live Letter provides the conversation starter for you and you are free to take it from there. They do use Honest History magazines in their units which are great history resource. So if you don’t have these you will need to invest in them. I found the supply list to be inexpensive and the majority of the items we already had at home. The book resources I found all of them at our local library and were inexpensive on Amazon. The Usborne Encyclopedia World History book is one of the core books but you can use this book or find a World History book that covers your unit’s topics.

November Mesoamerica Unit

The Learn & Live Letter provides so many hands-on and play-based learning opportunities in their units we had so much fun exploring. My son was super excited about learning history and doing the activities he ask for these lessons first during our homeschool day. We finished our Mesoamerica unit feeling confident and happy about our progress. When I asked him what he thought he said this was one of the best units we have done in a long time. With him being happy and I know that everything is planned for me and he loves it we are now working on Ancient China and Medival Level 3 from The Learn & Live Letter. We purchased a year’s subscription and we are both loving it.

Ancient + Medieval China

The Learn & Live Letter is hassle-free learning we were over all the traditional history lessons. We are doing what we love following our interest and back to enjoying our homeschool day.

Ancient + Medieval China

I highly recommend The Learn & Live Letter you will not be disappointed. It was such a sigh of relief to plan something he will both truly enjoy. Each unit is packed with much you can do and not feel overwhelmed. The Learn & Live Letter has excellent customer service and a wondering FAQ on their website. It is always great when homeschool moms create something that really puts the kids first, Bravo Ladies! For my followers, The Learn & Live Letter has provided my readers 10% off any year subscription, be sure to use my promo code DESHAUN10 at checkout.

Until the Next Time,

Mom!

Ancient + Medieval China

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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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2nd Grade Curriculum, 3rd Grade Curriculum, Curriculum, dyslexia, Homeschool, Language Arts, Orton-Gillingham, Reviews, spelling, Writing

Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales Review!

Complimentary product received.

We were sent Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales for us to check out and look at spelling from a different approach. We currently use a curriculum we have used for the last 2 years, but my son isn’t 100% in love with it, So when the opportunity to review Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales was presented I decided this would be a good chance to look over a new program.

When my son first started down our path of homeschooling we used Demme Learning Math U See Primer and Spelling U See A. He did extremely well with both programs and we were happy, but he needed a little more of a challenge when it came to both areas as we entered 1st grade. Spelling You See uses the five development stages of spelling:

  1. Preliterate
  2. Phonetic
  3. Skills Development
  4. Word Extenstions
  5. Derivational Constancy

Wild Tales provides opportunities for students to study words in the context of factual passages about animals.

Spelling You See

Spelling U See is different from other spelling programs, there are no list, grade levels, or extensive prepping of lessons. We were sent Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales it picks up from where Level B ends, so it is really important that you check out the placement assessment on Spelling You See if you haven’t done the previous levels. The Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales comes with an instructor guide, 2 student workbooks, and erasable Crayola color pencils. There are 36 lessons students will work on:

  • Vowel, Consonant, Bossy R Chunks
  • Tricky Y
  • Silent Letters
  • Various Combinations.

You can check out a full scope sequence on the website. The lessons are simple for students the Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales takes the students on an adventure with nonfiction passages about animals. The program does require parent involvement and your student needs to read the passages, day 1-3 students will do copy work (only 10 mins ). You should tell your student to stop writing and then chunk their words with you and that’s it for the day. Day 4 is No Rules day students draw something related to that week’s passage and write at least one sentence about the weekly passage. On day 5 it is dictation day you will dictate to the student the passage of the week and help them when prompted.

Chunking – provides hands-on experience with the many irregular letter patterns in English. Copywork – requires the brain to pay attention to details in print. Dictation – gives the student the opportunity to recall the proper letter patterns from memory.

Spelling You See

Our Review

Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales is a stress-free way to teach spelling, you don’t feel pressured to have your student memorize these ridiculously long lists of words and busywork. Students are able to use their phonetic knowledge and learn to spell. The really nice part is that once the 10 mins are over we are done. In observing our current curriculum I noticed how stressed he was doing word lists, activities and having to move on to the next list. In my heart I felt like is he just moving from the list to list and not really retaining all of the words? There were so many activities he needed to get through during the weekly lessons that we started stretching the lessons to 2 weeks.

Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales just makes things so much easier and it just flows better for us and our new path with homeschooling. We did the sample lessons of Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales first before we dove into the entire book and he said he liked the way it works and that it seem easier and he didn’t feel anxious to get things done in a hurry. I do think we need the Spelling You See Level D Americana, but we will work on the Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales as a review, possibly making the change to Spelling You See Level D Americana in the Spring. We aren’t in a rush so we will take our time and I will move at his pace. I do wish the upper level themes would be different topics for the passages, I did look over levels D – G. My son is able to read all of the passages with no problems and he is familiar with all the different areas of phonics and targeted areas of spelling.

The cost of the Spelling You See Level C Wild Tales at the time of this review is $53 plus taxes and shipping.

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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3rd Grade Curriculum, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, Art, Critical Thinking and Logic, Education, Family, Homeschool, mindfulness, Morning Basket, Read Alouds, Reviews, S.T.E.A.M, Writing

Owl Crate Jr: October Box Review!

Complimentary product received from Owl Crate!

We received the October box from Owl Crate Jr if you aren’t familiar with the Owl Crate Jr is a monthly box subscription for middle-grade readers ages 8-12 years. Each box is carefully crafted with a customized book cover sleeve just for Owl Crate Jr subscribers.

Owl Crate Jr October 2021

October’s Owl Crate Jr box theme is the Science is Magic. The book of the month is a signed copy of Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed. Inside this wonderful magical box includes hands-on activities for your reader related to the monthly theme.

On the day of a rare super blue blood moon eclipse, twelve-year-old Amira and her little brother, Hamza, can’t stop their bickering while attending a special exhibit on medieval Islamic astronomy. While stargazer Amira is wowed by the amazing gadgets, a bored Hamza wanders off, stumbling across the mesmerizing and forbidden Box of the Moon. Amira can only watch in horror as Hamza grabs the defunct box and it springs to life, setting off a series of events that could shatter their world—literally.

Amazon

Books Goodies

  • Ooze Labs test tube kit from Thames & Kosmos
  • “The Wild Robot” inspired book accessory designed by @shaferbrown
  • His Dark Materials Compass Enamel Pin
  • The Magic School Bus lanyard
  • Science is Magic Monthly Magazine (inlcudes a science exiperiment)
  • Science is Magic monthly collectible sticker
  • Bookplate with letter from the author to your Owl Crate Jr Reader
  • Wrinkle in Time Umbrella

The monthly magazine includes an October box photo challenge, Owl Crate Jr readers can perform 6 challenges in chances they can win 1 of 6 free boxes. They can upload the pictures to their parent’s Instagram accounts and tag @owlcratejr.

Overall Thoughts

We were sent two Owl Crate Jr boxes. The company sent us the January 2021 box that theme was Inner Magic and the book of the month was Amari and the Night Brothers, which we happen to be in the midst of finishing up. The January box encourages healthy self-image-building activities.

Owl Crate Jr box subscriptions are a good way to make reading magical. The themes we received were beautifully crafted with lots of learning opportunities. I also looked over the previous month’s books and discovered they have a diverse collection of book titles each month which is gladly appreciated. However, their social media pages don’t reflect that same diversity of children and families. Owl Crate Jr’s website is inviting and has a community blog for Owl Crate Jr and Owlcrate 14+. You can compare boxes on their website to see which box best works for your reader. I did poke around on the Owl Crate Jr shop I love all the extra book goodies they have. I am going to purchase a few of their teas for our monthly tea and chat times.

One of the things I find unique about Owl Crate Jr is its attention to detail. The Owl Crate Jr boxes make reading an adventure and not just words on pages. If you have a reluctant reader aged 8-12 Owl Crate Jr box is perfect for them. You use the monthly books as read-aloud or an independent read, we happened to be reading the Amari and the Night Brothers book already when the October Owl Crate Jr and my son are completely engulfed in this book and we will be moving on to the Amira & Hamza The War to Save the Worlds book soon. My son saw the “Dragons” in next month’s Owl Crate Jr box he is begging me to get him the November box also! Of course, I said yes because I am thrilled he wants to keep reading more novels.

Owl Crate Jr boxes are $29.99 a month, the company offers several different subscriptions option. The Owl Crate Jr box is for middle-grade readers ages 8-12 years. The boxes ship between the 15th and 20th of the month. You can purchase past Owl Crate Jr boxes in the shop. I have signed me little up for a subscription after receiving these 2 boxes complimentary so be on the lookout for updates on our instagram.

Until the Next Time,

Mom and J

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OwlCrate/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/owlcrate/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/37437502-korrina-owlcrate