A Light for My Path ~ Review & Giveaway

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I am excited to share a new book from Apologia called A Light for My Path by Davis Carman.  I was sent this book to review and am honored to have Apologia as a blog sponsor. Help your children fall in love with God’s Word while learning their ABC’s with this beautifully illustrated book based on Psalm 119. This is so much more than an ABC book, introducing the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet and twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

A Light for My Path is simply beautiful.  I showed it to my daughter, who loves animals, and she was in love.  She looked at it periodically for a couple of weeks and then it was on my desk for awhile and out of her sight.  A couple of weeks ago I set it back out and just happened to be there when she saw it.  I promise these photos are not staged, at all!

She went nuts hugging all over the book, so excited to see it!

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It was really quite amusing, and yes I was thinking to myself, “Man these will make great photos for my review post!”

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I did ask her to show me a page, which she is doing below.  This gives you an idea of what the book is like on the inside.  Each page features a beautiful illustration and a large letter.  The left page says the same phrase on every page, so we shortened it as we read.  It does get repetitive when reading to a 4 year old, although some will love this, she did not. 

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In the back of the book, you’ll find Psalm 119  {which is an acrostic poem} written out in full.  You also see the Hebrew letter of the alphabet that correlates with each stanza at the top of each page.  What an amazing learning tool right at your fingertips!

We love this book and are happy to own it thanks to Apologia!


Along with this new book, Davis Carman has also written another amazing book we own and love, Good Morning God.  I purchased this book over a year ago and it is one of K’s favorites! Good Morning God

For our giveaway today, one of you will receive BOTH books {and the coloring book that goes with Good Morning, God}!

Apologia Giveaway

 

Use Rafflecopter to enter to win below.  Giveaway is open to US residents only, and ends on November 14, 2013.

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All About Reading Level 2 Review

All About Reading Level 2 Review

{Disclaimer ~ The product being reviewed, All About Reading Level 2, was given to me free of charge for my honest opinion. Affiliate links are used thanks for your support}

If you have been around my blog for long you probably know that we use All About Learning Press curriculum for reading and spelling.  We purchased All About Spelling Level 1 years ago when my oldest son was struggling with spelling.  We then formed a relationship with All About Learning Press and have been reviewing and using All About Reading also.  We are currently using All About Reading Pre with Ladybug, we completed All About Reading Level 1 with Krash, and are now midway through All About Reading Level 2 with Krash, who is in 2nd grade.  We have been given these programs to review and I am very thankful for that.

We were using All About Reading to supplement his box curriculum since I feel All About Reading is stronger. Recently I made the decision to totally stop using the phonics and spelling portions of our box curriculum and  to use All About Reading and Spelling Level 2 exclusively for Krash.

Here’s a post I wrote last year sharing how these curriculums really helped Krash get over a hump in 1st grade…Homeschool Reading

Why I love All About Reading Level 2

All About Reading Level 2 Review

  • easy prep done at the beginning of the year {or whenever you begin}
  • open and go, once initial prep work is done
  • lots of help so PARENTS understand the phonics rules also
  • wonderful extension of Level 1
  • unique and creative ways to reinforce concepts in a hands on way
  • my son likes it {the best reason}

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It took me awhile to learn this trick, but finally I developed a system to keep myself prepared and organized for each lesson.  For each lesson there are up to 3 different elements to have on hand in addition to the magnetic board with the letter tiles.  I found that I was getting a bit overwhelmed gathering materials {even though it is simple and straightforward I hate shuffling through papers every day}.  At the beginning of level 2 BEFORE we even began, I set up this new folder system.  I got folders for each lesson and loaded any word cards, tiles, fluency sheets, and any activity pages.  The blue bin is from the dollar section at Target.

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Below you can see the inside of the folder for lesson 13,  I already have the materials prepped and ready to go when we get to that lesson.

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Not sure which level is right for your child?  Look for this on their site here to download a free placement test.

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Curious to see samples?  Scroll down on that same page and look for this…

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Other things to consider ~

  • The bulk of the components are non-consumable {the Activity Book cannot be used again}. This means that you will be able to use the program with your younger children or resell the program when you are finished with it.
  • I really love the Go Ahead and Use It One-Year Guarantee’. You and your child have a full year to try out the program! If you find that the curriculum does not meet your needs, simply return the materials at any time within one year of purchase for a full refund of your purchase price {excluding shipping}.

A few of my online friends have also reviewed this program, you can see more from their blog linked below.  I know choosing a curriculum is sometimes difficult and it is definitely costly, I hope their reviews might be helpful to you also!


Be sure you peek at the All About Reading website to decide which level you are interested in, I will be hosting a giveaway for ANY All About Reading level very soon!

While you wait on my giveaway, here’s a $100 Giveaway from All About Learning Press!

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Integrity Time Online Review & Giveaway

Integrity Time Online Review

I was given the following items to review…

After spending hours looking over this, I made the decision to use it for our character development this year!  It seems like a perfect fit and I think the music will really draw my kids in, they LOVE music!  Since my kids are ages 4, 7, and 11 I decided to go with the Know It {recommended for ages 4-7} curriculum, and focus on Ladybug and Krash mainly.  I won’t require PacMan to participate, but he will always be welcome.

To prepare for our year, I created a lesson binder, and a song binder.

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I also printed and laminated the characters and made popsicle stick puppets.  I had a long piece of styrofoam so I made a little display to make it easier to find them during our lessons.

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PacMan snapped some pictures while I was teaching the very first lesson, on our 2nd day of homeschool this year. 

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My favorite parts of this program are  the characters and the music.  When I presented the characters to my kids, they loved them.

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We met 4 characters on the first day,

  • Complaining Clemo
  • Helpful Henry
  • Positive Polly
  • Selfish Sellie

Just the characters alone were such a fabulous teaching tool as the kids could really relate to the faces the characters were making. 

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I made a playlist for the music and it was really easy to jump to the songs {which are specifically listed out for you in the manual}.

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What I Love ~

The music!  It is awesome and although not faith based, it aligns with my Christian faith.  The messages are definitely messages I want my kids hearing.  My kids LOVE the music, especially Ladybug, who dances around!

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The characters!  With the program, you get printable characters and I love the artwork.  The names are great, and are really meaningful to my kids.  This hands on addition makes the lessons come to life in a great way.

The lesson manual, song printables, and organization.  It really is all prepared at the beginning of the year and then I can just sit down and teach. It took some prep work in the beginning, but now I am done and just teach!

 

Thoughts to Consider ~

I have no negatives for you, just some thoughts to consider.  The curriculum is written to a class, not a family.  This is fine and is adjustable as you speak to your kids if homeschooling, but it is something I think as a homeschooler you might like to know!

There aren’t new characters presented with every lesson.  My kids LOVE the characters so I needed to bring them out for each new lesson.  I wish there was a new one introduced in each lesson. For lessons that don’t have a new character we just review and role play with the ones we have already met.

 

Final Thoughts ~

Obviously I have positive overall thoughts, as we have chosen to use this as our character program for the year. We are up to our 4th lesson, doing one per week, and I am already seeing great results.  The other day at our camper, one of our kids was being grumpy and complaining, and Ladybug said, “He’s being like Complaining Clemo!”  While it wasn’t exactly fabulous that she called her brother out, I was thrilled to see the lesson stuck!

If you are looking for a character development program to use, I definitely recommend looking into Integrity Time.  You can see more in my Learning with Ladybug series, where I share a bit about what we did each week!


Integrity Time is offering a giveaway for you!  Enter to win your choice of either Integrity Time Online Program!

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Based on the program you’d like to win, please choose which Rafflecopter widget to use.  The top is for the Know it {ages 4-7}, and the bottom is for the Grow It {ages 7-11}.  You may enter both, but you may only win one.

Giveaway is open worldwide, US winners will receive actual CDs, all others will receive a download of the music.  Curriculum is an online subscription. Giveaway ends 10/2/13.

1) 1 Integrity Time Online Know It 1 Year subscription and Know It! CD

· ABC Integrity Time Know It (preschool – 1st grade) is a unique program designed to teach our young children foundational values of Integrity. It includes 26 Lessons based on the ABC’s – A stands for Attitude, B stands for Behavior, C stands for Cooperation, etc. The children will learn through games, special snacks, fun puppets, and creative songs many lessons about the importance of choosing what is true and good and right.

· The Integrity Time Online subscriber will receive the entire 26 lesson curriculum in PDF format, along with excellent resources and supplemental materials to expand the Integrity Time Lessons.

Integrity Tunes

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2) 1 Integrity Time Online Grow It 1 Year Subscription and Grow It! CD

· Integrity Time Grow It (2nd-4th grades) teaches children about some of the pitfalls which hinder integrity, including cheating, teasing, tattling, being mean, and being lazy, and shows how to avoid these pitfalls. The program encourages integration into the academic world of reading, creative writing, journaling, and art through guided journal entries, and student booklets. Integrity Time Grow It includes 26 lessons with 26 original integrity stories.

· The Integrity Time Online subscriber will receive the entire 26 lesson curriculum in PDF format, along with excellent resources and supplemental materials to expand the Integrity Time Lessons.

Integrity Tunes 2

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Thirty One Party!

Thirty One September 2013 Special

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got an email from Darcy asking if I’d like to review items and host an online Thirty One Party!  Not only did she  offer to send me review items, but they are the EXACT items I had been eyeing for over a year!  I was through the roof excited!

Here’s what Darcy sent me to review…

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Organizing Utility Tote {item # 3105} in Woodblock Floral

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Fold N File {item # 3890} in Grey Pin Dots ~ it fits in the tote and holds my hanging file folders!

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I am in love!  I had been wanting something exactly like this for so long and when it arrived, I knew it was the quality I had been hoping for, I am so pleased!

I will be using these the same way my pals Jolanthe and Maureen use theirs ~ as homeschool organizers! I am still transferring items, but plan to fill it with the most needed items that I use with Krash and Ladybug during the school week.

Like the Organizing Utility Tote?  I have great news…

For every $35 you spend during September 2013, get an Organizing Utility Tote for $15 or a Super Organizing Tote  for $25!

See more details here in the September Sale Flier.

The Fold N File {item # 3890} is $25, and you could add a Pocket-A-Tote {item # 4135} for $10, or a Zipper Pouch {item # 3405} for $15 and have your $35 so you can save 50% on your organizing tote! 

The prices will show regular until you add $35 to your shopping cart and then the price will drop in your shopping cart.

See the current Fall 2013 Catalog in PDF form.  The catalog is a great way to peek at the products in action and jot down ideas of what you like.  I found it MUCH easier to browse through than the website itself.  Just grab a pen and jot down the item numbers of what you like!

Not familiar with Thirty One?

The name Thirty-One is derived from the Old Testament, where Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman who exhibits hard work, wisdom, encouragement and care for others. It is Thirty-One’s mission to celebrate, encourage and reward women for who they are as individuals.

 

I would be honored if you shopped through my online party this month!  This is my first time as a Thirty One Hostess and my very first Thirty One product owned!

Print

Questions?  Please leave a comment below, and I will ask our Thirty One consultant, Darcy!

Spielgaben Educational Toys

Spielgaben Educational Toys

{disclaimer ~ I was sent the Spielgaben set to review, no other compensation was provided}

Don’t you just want to reach in and grab the toys in the photo above?  It’s amazing how beautiful, quality toys can draw us in, even as adults!  When our Spielgaben educational toy set arrived for us to review, I think I was even more giddy than the kids.  The early childhood educator in me goes wild with ideas and inspiration when presented with materials such as these.  Wooden, natural, colorful, open ended, simple, small, inspirational, creative, engaging. 

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Once I had our enormous box opened up and all of the sets on display, my kids went nuts.  Seriously, all three of them.  It was like they’d never seen a toy before! The appeal of this set is very strong, from the display, to the actual materials.  It draws them in.

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Before the set arrived, I wasn’t sure if it would be another review item or something I would actually incorporate into our curriculum.  I am thrilled to share that I have decided to use the set with Ladybug as a part of her home preschool.  This really is a play based curriculum, not just another set of toys.

You can see below, our review set is a bit different than the new set in production for US and UK residents. 

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You can see the set in production on the Spielgaben website…same toys, different organizational system.  Here’s a small image showing the basic differences…

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Spielgaben is both for open ended imaginative play AND for structured learning!  How cool is that?  Along with the actual toys themselves {and the amazing storage system} you get access to several PDF files which you can download. 

The user guides are filled with activities for you to do with your child, and these activities progress in skill. The manuals are beautifully designed, although tough on color ink so I was choosey with what I printed. They tell you exactly what to do with your child, which materials you need and have photographs to guide you!

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You could easily put the manuals on an iPad or other device, I chose to print mine to start out with, I only printed the first 10 activities to see if I want to continue printing or switch to using the manuals digitally.

Along with the highly detailed user guides {4 total} there are amazing worksheet sets, and inspiration cards.  You can see everything in more detail on their website! We haven’t started using the worksheets or activities in the user guides yet, but the kids have been enjoying the inspiration cards {shown below}!

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Ladybug {age 4} is by far the biggest fan of the inspiration cards!Spielgaben -6244

 

Massive amounts of free play has been happening, with all 3 kids {ages 4, 7, 11}. They are playing freely, but they are not allowed to get these items out without my permission, way too many tiny pieces to get mixed up and lost.

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The big boy made this silly face.  He isn’t really into the inspiration cards, but loves doing his own creative thing.

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There is so much learning going on while playing AND while cleaning up!  The storage system itself is a great teaching tool for children!  The user guides share exact storage placement images also, so you can always fit every last block perfectly into the little squares! {note~ the new set won’t store exactly like the one I got to review}

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You will be seeing more of Spielgaben on my blog in the future, mostly in my preschool posts since we will be using it!  I only wish I would have had this set when my boys were young, it would have replaced many of our other learning toys!

 

Is it for YOU?

Spielgaben is for children ages 3-12, which I have so it’s a great fit for us!  The cost is higher, but you get all of the toys shown, the organizational system, and the downloadable worksheets, inspiration cards, and parent guides {curriculum guides}.  I believe the price is reasonable now that I have seen and explored all that is included and the quality of the items. If cost isn’t an issue for you, I would say go for it and add it to your home early childhood collection!  Knowing cost is an issue for most of us, I wanted to give my recommendation for who I think would benefit most from investing in this.

Spielgaben would be great for the parent who is looking for an all in one play based curriculum to use with their child exclusively in the early years and as a supplement up through age 12!  I am using it with Ladybug {age 4} for her PreK and we will see where it take us!

I do believe the quality of the set is very high and this would be a toy set that could be passed down to grandchildren.  I feel extremely blessed to have this set and am thankful the review opportunity came my way. 

A few other questions have been asked on my Facebook page about this set, here is the link to the thread where you can see my answers.  Questions regarding the value, would I buy it myself without hesitation, and more!

Want to learn even more and purchase Spielgaben for your family?

Spielgaben recently launched a campaign to bring these amazing learning sets to the US and UK.  {outside of US/UK can get them too, with a shipping cost}

You have the opportunity to learn more and be a part of the launch by purchasing at a special discount price

See the Spielgaben campaign here, and the website here.

Also, be sure to “like” Spielgaben on Facebook, lots of good info!