Cursive Logic - Workbook Cover
How to Teach a Struggling Learner
9 More Ways to Make Summer Reading Fun
7 things Dyslexic Children Struggle with and tips to help them Thrive!
5 Love Languages for School Review

Staples Back to School Ad 7/5-7/11

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Staples Back to School Ad

$1 and Under

2 Pocket Paper Folder – 15 Cents – Limit 30
1 Subject Notebook 70 sheets – 25 Cents – Limit 30
Westcott 12 inch wood ruler – 35 Cents – Limit 30
3×5″ White Index Cards 100 ct – 48 Cents – Limit 30
Crayola Crayons 24 pk – 50 Cents – Limit 30
Staples School Glue 4 oz with stick – 50 Cents – Limit 30
Staples Composition Book Assorted Colors – 50 Cents – Limit 30
Staples No. 2 Pencils 12 ct – 68 Cents – Limit 30
Staples Filler Paper 120 Sheets – 75 Cents – Limit 30
Crayola Markers and Colored Pencils Assorted – 97 Cents Each – Limit 30
Bic Pens and Mechanical Pencils – $1 – Limit 30
Pentel Hi-Polymer Latex Free Eraser 3 Pack – 75 Cents – Limit 5

$2
Fashion Notebooks and Composition Books
Sharpie Permanent Markers 5 ct
Sharpie Accent Highlighters 5 ct
Staples 1 Subject Notebook
Staples Filler Paper 80 ct
Ticonderoga #2 Pencils 24 Pack

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Expo Dry Erase Marker 4 pk

Honorable Mentions
Lexar 16 GB – $7.99

 

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Office Depot Back to School Ad – 7/5-7/11

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Office Depot Back to School Ad

Penny Item
These items are 1 cent each with a $5 purchase.

Tub 2 Hole Manual Pencil Sharpener (Limit 3)
Pencil Pouch Assorted Colors (Limit 3)
Office Depot Brand Beveled Erasers (Limit 3)

$1 and Under

Office Depot/Max Brand Plastic Ruler – 25 Cents (Limit 3)
Scholastic/Office Max Brand Pourable 4 oz Glue – 25 Cents (Limit 3)
Scholastic Art Broad Tip Markers 10 PK – 25 Cents (Limit 3)
Mini Stapler – $1 (Limit 3)
Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers 5 pk – $1 (Limit 3)
Papermate Clear Point Mechanical Pencils 2 pk – $1 (Limit 3)

$2
Office Depot Brand 1 Subject Notebooks

$3
Highmark/Office Depot Brand Facial Tissue – 3 pk
Ticonderoga Pencils – 24 pk
Highmark Select a Size Paper Towels

Deal Idea
Buy:
3 Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Markers 5 pk – $1
2 Office Depot/Max Brand Plastic Ruler – 25 Cents
3 Scholastic/Office Max Brand Pourable 4 oz Glue – 25 Cents
3 Scholastic Art Broad Tip Markers 10 PK – 25 Cents
3 Tub 2 Hole Manual Pencil Sharpener
3 Pencil Pouch Assorted Colors
3 Office Depot Brand Beveled Erasers

Pay:
$5.09 plus tax

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Cursive Logic – Cursive Writing Curriculum Review

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I have a lot lately about cursive handwriting being removed from schools. However, I have also read a lot about how cursive writing can be a huge help to students with dysgraphia. I planned to teach R to write in cursive starting in the fall. However, I was asked by The Homeschool Review Crew if I wanted to review a CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic and I could not turn it down. I decided now was as good a time as any to start a cursive writing curriculum with R.

Cursive Logic - Workbook Cover

What did I receive? 
I received the CursiveLogic Workbook from CursiveLogic.

How were the lessons set up? 
These lessons are broken up in to different types of letters.  Instead of teaching the letters in alphabetical order the lessons work on each of these letter types to give the child a better chance to learn them.

The student will start by tracing letters with their fingers, then trace with a pencil, then finally practice writing the letter themselves using what they learned.

These lessons also use a repetitive phrase that goes with each type of letter to help the child focus on what they are working on.

They also work with letter strings to let the student practice connecting letters from day one. This has been a huge bonus for R because she is already practicing words.

What did I think of it? 

Cursive Logic - Orange Ovals

R has been really excited about this cursive writing curriculum so far. This may have a lot to do with the fact that she has been begging me to teach her cursive for the entire school year but I think a lot has to do with the curriculum as well.

She immediately picked up her pencil and started to work hard. In fact, I haven’t had to ask her at all to do her writing work. Each day we work on a page of this curriculum. I am impressed with how quickly she is picking up the concepts put forth. The only area she seems to struggle with is lifting her pencil. However, we are practicing this as part of her daily work and she is showing a great deal of improvement.

I am also very impressed with the growth I am seeing from page to page. She is already doing better with cursive writing than she did with printing. There seems to be a reward implied for the child yearning to write in cursive. In a few short lessons R really was able to connect letters and write fairly well for a beginner.

How easy is it to use? 

As I said above this curriculum is very easy to use. In fact, R has been voluntarily doing it on her own. I do have to work with her to teach the material and make sure she is executing it well. This is not very involved and I find the lessons don’t take long at all.

How much does it cost? 

The book I received is only $29. This is very reasonable for all that you get in this one book.

Find Cursive Logic on social media:
SchoolhouseTeachers.com Review

How To Teach a Struggling Learner

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I have been homeschooling for many years now. I started with R when she was very little and now she is starting fourth grade. Homeschooling R has been an amazing journey filled with fun and a lot of success. However, it has also been a very frustrating and overwhelming venture. Because of R’s dyslexia and dysgraphia she struggles to learn certain things. In fact, teaching her certain things is down right torture! In the last few years I have had to learn how to teach a struggling learner without losing my mind. I am going to share a few tips with you to help you not only survive but thrive.

How to Teach a Struggling Learner

Acknowledge the child’s weaknesses.

Children who have learning difficulties have certain weaknesses. If you are able to list these out and acknowledge your life will be easier. If you know that your child is weak in a certain area this gives you the opportunity to plan for difficulties.

Acknowledge your weaknesses. 

Could some of your weaknesses be making things harder? For me, I am not a very patient person. This means that when I am asking you to do something for the 100th time my level of grace may have diminished. Figure out where your weaknesses are so that you can either overcome them or ask for help.

Accept tutoring. 

If tutoring is available to you and can fit in the budget accept it. Sometimes that extra help will relieve some of the stress of teaching. The tutor may even give you tips to educate your child with less stress.

Accept therapies. 

R spent an entire year in Speech Therapy. She speaks quite well but the speech therapist was able to bring her up to standard in areas where I struggled to work with her. If you have the ability to work with a certain kind of therapy that will make learning easier on your child, jump on it.

Be flexible.

Teaching a child with learning difficulties demands flexibility. Whether that means approaching learning a different way, rescheduling your day, or using incentives to prompt learning, be open to these options. There is an old quote, “Be flexible so that when you are bent, you won’t break.” I find that flexibility in teaching a child with learning difficulties can make a world of difference.

Bring incentives. 

Incentives are a great way to encourage a struggling learner. I do not mean candy for each completed problem or chuck e cheese for each week of completed work. However, if you have a struggling reader, let them watch the movie when they finish the book. If you have someone struggling with Math offer them comic book time when they are done with Math. There are healthy incentives that help a person to do what needs to be done.

Be consistent about devotionals. 

I do a morning devotional every day when I get up. It’s my time to plug in to God and ask for the strength and peace I need for the day. If you are a believer, structure in time for prayer and scripture. It will be a lot easier to work with a struggling learner if you aren’t trying to do it all in your strength.

Do you teach a child with learning difficulties? What do you do to keep your sanity?

9 More Ways to Make Summer Reading Fun

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Summer reading can be a challenge for some children. With so much going on it’s easy to skip picking up a book for the entire summer. It can also be hard to keep a child engaged in reading when they want to be outside playing. Last year I shared 6 tips for getting your kids to read during the summer. Now I am going to share a few more tips I have found to make summer reading fun.

9 More Ways to Make Summer Reading Fun
Make it a Competition
Children love to compete with other children or against their past best. Instead of challenging a child to read because the log says so, challenge a kid to make reading a competition. Whether that means reading a whole chapter book in a certain amount of time, seeing how many pages they can read in a certain amount of time, or seeing which child can finish their book first, a competition may be a great motivator. If you do this make sure to check for comprehension. Some children will “read” fast to win.
Start them on a Series
I have found that R is more engaged with what she is reading if it builds on itself. If I can find a book series she likes I am much more likely to get her to read subsequent books to stay with the characters. Instead of picking out a solitary book, find a series to let them immerse themselves in. Right now R is in love with the Spiderwick Chronicles but there are many options if you ask your local librarian.
Offer an Incentive 
I don’t mean bribe your child to read. I don’t want you giving them candy bars every time they finish a book. However, offering your child the opportunity to read a comic book or something fun in exchange for a certain amount of time spent on required reading is a great idea. You know your child’s best incentive. If that is extra time at the playground or a pool day with friends that can work to.  The idea is to give them a goal. There are many reading logs that can be used for this purpose.
Check out Audio Books 
Some books need to be read. Sometimes listening to an audio book will give your child the story without sitting down. This is a great option if you will be going on vacation. Pick a great book and listen to it on the road. If you want, you can have your child follow along with the physical book while the audio reads it. I know that listening to the first audio book in a series inspired R to pick up the rest of the series and keep reading. Even better, most libraries have audio books so you won’t have to buy them.
Read to Siblings
R loves to read aloud to her brother. I love this because she is still doing her reading time while enjoying time with her brother. It may be a great idea to challenge kids to read to each other. Some of my favorite moments with my kids is watching them curl up together with a great book.
Make their Own Audio Book 
Give your child a tape recorder and let them record their own audio book. This is a fun way to get them reading aloud while having fun. You can either save each tape for the future or record over it with the next book. How much fun would it be to listen to books read by your children from different ages when they are older?
Make a Comic to Retell the Story 
If you are worried about comprehension let your child create a comic of the story using these comic templates. Not only will you see what they understand it will give the hands on child a more fun way to explore the book. Some children will want to wait until the end of the book while others will want to work on parts of the comic book with each chapter. Find what works with your child and have fun with it.
Play to their Interests
I know I said this before but I can’t say it enough. Children are more likely to read if they are reading something they love. If they are only meant to log time reading and not a specific list, spend some time figuring out what they really enjoy. You might find that your child picks up a whole pile of non-fiction books on a subject they really enjoy and ends up learning more.
Avoid Punishments
Reading will not be fun if it is tied to punishment. Try some of the above tips instead of turning to discipline to get your child reading. A child will read a lot more when there isn’t a fear of consequences. I know too many kids who won’t read at all because it is viewed as a chore instead of as a fun activity.
What do you do to get your kids reading during the summer?

7 Things Dyslexic Children Struggle With

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My amazing girl is dyslexic. We have learned to not only be ok with this but to thrive with it. However, there are some difficulties that come with dyslexia that people don’t always talk about. I am going to share some of those with you as well as a tip or two as to how we are trying to overcome these difficulties that dyslexic children struggle with. Dyslexia is not the end of your world. It’s just a change in perspective.

 7 things Dyslexic Children Struggle with and tips to help them Thrive!
Rote Memorization 
Rote memorization is a huge struggle for children with dyslexia. For my daughter this has impacted Math and Spelling. However, it also shows up in things like her Awana group. She is expected to memorize bible verses every week and recite them for her teachers. This has been a very large struggle for her.
In order to move past this we have tried a few things.
  • We use songs in learning. R loves music and some things can be learned easier if she is using music to learn them.
  • We get moving. Instead of just memorizing the information, R will put together her own motions to go with whatever she is needing to memorize. Acting it out seems to help her to retain the information longer.
But you can read!
Many times my child will hear, “but you can read!” Yes, she can. What they don’t see is that it has taken years of hard work to get her to this point. There is often the misconception that because a child is dyslexic they can not read at all. Dyslexics are able to read. It just takes a lot more time and work for them to get to a point where they can read well. R is now 8 years old and devours a chapter book a day. It wasn’t always that way though.
  • Read what they are interested in. If your child is interested in horses, grab books about horses. If they love legos, grab a book about that. You are more likely to get a child to read something they are interested in anyway.
  • Be consistent. When R was younger we spent the entire summer reading 1 page a day of the Richard Scarry Books. At first she hated it. However, with practice every single day she learned to read better and by the end of the summer was reading a few pages a day. It’s ok to take it slow and keep it simple.
Getting Easily Overwhelmed 
When R was younger she would see books with a lot of small words and no pictures and she would get shut down. Even though she was completely able to read it, it looked hard and she was scared. For a child with dyslexia a huge page of words can seem like a daunting task. Most children will shut down at the sight of a page full of words.
  • Cover everything but the sentence you are on. We like to use a sheet of paper and cover everything we aren’t reading at that moment. This simplifies the reading and helps your child to focus on the task at hand.
  • Large Print Books or a Kindle – Large print books put less words on the page. This can relieve some of the stress. You can also use a reader like the Kindle where you can make the font larger. Seeing less words on the page can make it easier.
Skipping Words When Reading 
One of the things that used to drive me crazy is when R would skip words completely when reading. It was like she didn’t see some of the helper words that were part of the sentence. Then she would get frustrated when the sentence didn’t make sense to her later on.
  • Use a pointer. Either let your child use their finger or use a pointing stick to make them touch each word as they read. This simple step will cause them to slow down and actually see each word instead of moving on.
  • Cover words. You can also cover the parts of the sentence your child isn’t reading yet so they have to work on one word at a time. This will help to reinforce the words while teaching your child to read in order.
Guessing Words
This one used to drive me crazy! Whenever R didn’t know a word, she wouldn’t sound it out. Instead she would just guess the word. It didn’t matter if it was completely different from what the word was and didn’t fit the sentence she would just plug it in and keep trucking along. This habit can be very bad if it is not corrected.
  • Correct, correct, correct. Don’t let your child slide on word guessing. Have them read aloud to you and make sure they are saying each word correctly. If they do not, ask them if that word makes sense there. Instead of pointing out the problem, see if they can see the error.
  • Sound it out. – Make them sound it out. Even if the word is one they have read a hundred times, having them sound it out will make them practice learning the word and learning how to handle a word they have never encountered.
Separating out Background Noise 
Dyslexic children can have problems filtering out background noise. R really struggled with this because she has a loud little brother who loves to play. It would drive her crazy and she would shut down telling me that she couldn’t possibly work with “all the noise.”
  • Find a quiet environment. For R this meant taking her school work to her room. She was able to work alone where it was quiet without me constantly shushing her brother.
  • Find a noise alternative. R uses an ipod with headphones. Her music is an acceptable background noise for her and she is more willing to work with it in the background. Find the option that will work for your child and you may see an increase in learning.
Reading Comprehension 
When R was younger it was hard for her to remember the sentence she just read. It didn’t matter if she read it ten times. When she moved on to the new sentence, she was finished with what came before it. This made it very hard to give her the ability to learn independently. It also left me frustrated because I was investing more time in to teaching the material.
  • Find another way to teach it. Does your child need to read the information? It may be better to let them listen to an audio book. Leave reading time for reading time and teaching time for teaching time.
  • Play to their interests. Your child will be more likely to remember something if it is about something they enjoy. For R, that means we read a lot about big cats, tornadoes, and princesses. This simple shift in reading helped her to enjoy it and remember better.
What does your dyslexic child struggle with? What do you do to help them?

Artegon Sky Trail Orlando

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I have to be honest with you. I am terrified of heights. Something about being up high just scares the mess out of me. However, I happen to be the mother of a little monkey. When he was two I found him sitting on my fridge. (I wish I was joking…) When I heard about the new Artegon Sky Trail in Orlando my first response was NO WAY! However, as I looked at the images of this place I couldn’t help thinking about all the fun my little monkey would have. I have decided that I am taking the challenge. I am going to go on the sky trail with my son.

Artegon Sky Trail Orlando
Let me show you what it has so that you can decide if you should be taking your family out for some sky high fun!

skytrail2 skytrail1

Artegon Sky Trail features a 44-foot tall, 2 level adventure ropes course complete with 38 exciting elements including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path and go at their own pace. The ropes course is also equipped with a Quick Jump free-fall simulation device which allows patrons to safely fall 30-feet from the air. For the young adventurers, there’s the Sky Tykes ropes course for kids 2-7 or less than 48″ tall. Artegon Sky Trail provides exciting fun for the entire family to enjoy together!
skytrail3
skytrail4
Here’s where accountability comes in to play. I am committing to work through the course with my kids. I will do as much as I can. There is one thing you won’t catch me doing though. I will not be going for the 30 foot drop. I can’t wait to share in my review of this sky trail whether or not I was able to not only do this course but have some great fun doing it.

Do you want to save on the course? 

My Readers SAVE with their current coupon.

 

Can I do this?!

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R is currently in swim lessons. This may seem like no big deal but it has been a bit of a frustration for her. Yesterday she came to me and said, “mom, I think I am in a level that is too high. This stuff isn’t easy for me.” I told her to stay put because it is a learning experience for her. You see, she wanted it to be easy. She wanted to get in the pool and excel at every step of the process. While that would be great, it’s not always realistic.

Can I Do This - Truth for when we look at other's best and hope to the same

We are the same way though. We start out on our homeschooling and parenting journey and we want to excel. We want to hit the ground running. Sure, other moms should struggle occasionally but we should be the garden growing, genius razing, cookie baking queen of the parenting world. Between Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram we are sold this perfect image of what homeschooling and parenting should be. We find ourselves asking Can I do this?! It’s kind of like R at the pool. She sees her instructors at their best and wants to be that.

Here’s the kicker, we forget the work that went into it. Did you know that many of the images you see on Pinterest come from bloggers like me who clear enough space to shoot that pic so that it will look right on Pinterest? Did you know that before I post that gorgeous pic of my kids smiling I have probably deleted at least 6 of them fighting over the same toy they fought over yesterday? Just like R at swim lessons we can’t compare our beginning to someone else’s middle. We can’t look at a standard we weren’t meant to reach.

Instead we must do a lot like what R is doing. I told her to get in the pool, focus on the instructor, and do what she is told. Today she did just that and she did an amazing job. We have to do the same. We have to choose to get in the parenting and homeschooling game. Do what we need to do. This means teaching and correcting and working out this parenting thing even when it doesn’t add up. We need to look to the instructor. For me, that means looking to God and asking Him how I am supposed to do this. How do I teach this child? How do I raise this child? Once God gives direction though, I need to put it into action. I need to take the time and work.

Do you get frustrated with parenting or homeschooling because you are comparing yourself to a standard you aren’t meant to meet? It’s time to let that go.

Printable Summer Reading Logs

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Summer is a wonderful time to get kids interested in a great book! I have put together some really fun printable summer reading logs just for you. I have even set these up as free printables just for you. Each page is unique and offers your child a fun a creative way to keep track of reading time. Some of these will involve cutting and pasting to build a big image while others involve coloring or drawing. You can print all of them or select the ones you know your children will love!

Summer Reading Log Printable Pack

 

Print your Summer Reading Logs Printable.

If you like these please share with friends. I would love to see a lot of kids having fun with reading this Summer.

Licensing for the clip art used here comes from

All Clip art was purchased and used from AMB Illustrations and Pretty Grafik Design

Doctor Who Inspired Multiplication Printable Pack

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Multiplication facts can be very frustrating. Whether your child is working on their Hartnell facts or their Smith facts it can be bothersome. I have put together a great Doctor Who Inspired Multiplication Printable pack to help your child not only learn their facts but have fun doing it! I highly recommend cutting them out and laminating them so that you can use them over and over.

 

Doctor Who Inspired Multiplication Printable Pack

 

Print your Doctor Who Inspired Multiplication Printable

Do you want more? 

Doctor Who Inspired Addition/Subtraction Flash Cards 

Doctor Who Inspired Creative Writing Pack 

Doctor Who Inspired Comic Strip Templates