About Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1:
My Daughter’s Thoughts:
The Critical Thinking Co. would love to offer readers free shipping and 15% Off Any Size Order! I love free shipping deals! Simply use code TOSCREW19 to enjoy the discount. This code will expire 12/31/2019.
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In addition to Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1, The Critical Thinking Co. offers many other books for practice. Be sure check out their website to find out more. You can also find out more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.
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Hooray! For a limited time, score FREE admission tickets to the Southeast Homeschool Expo! This will take place July 26-27, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Simply head on over to their website, and use code free2019 when you order your tickets! EXPIRES FRIDAY,
APRIL 30 AT 11:59 PM!
*Note: There is a $2.75 mail/badge fee that you will have to pay for when you order your tickets.
If you haven’t been to a homeschool expo, this is a MUST in my mind! We have gone to an expo thinking we wanted a particular curriculum and then ended up going with something else once we put our hands on it! Definitely recommend it!
For a limited time, you can score 2 months of ABCmouse.com for only $5! After this, then you can cancel or continue subscribing at their published rate. At this price, it’s a wonderful start to see if it’s something your family will enjoy.
We have used ABCmouse.com for many months and my children enjoyed it. It now goes from 2 years of age through 2nd grade! I’m about to add my 3 year old to the program because I think he would benefit from it!
This is so much fun! We went to the Tennessee Aquarium a couple years ago and I enjoyed it far more than our local aquarium. It’s less crowded and the layout is smooth to transition from each part of the aquarium to another section.
Heads up scouts and college students, you can get half price tickets to the aquarium from February 1-28, 2019!
The Tennessee Aquarium will offer special half-price admission to members of scouting organizations and college students, staff and faculty members. The discount applies to Aquarium tickets, 45-minute IMAX film screenings, as well as combo ticket purchases.
Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America and all other scouting organizations can receive the half price discount by wearing their uniform, sash or a scouting activity shirt. Staff of Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of America are also eligible for discounted admission with the presentation of a valid paystub.
The discount applies to the entire visiting party and is offered on all tickets purchased between Sept. 10 and Sept. 30, including repeat visits. Tickets cannot be purchased online or by phone. They must be purchased onsite at the Aquarium ticketing center or the IMAX 3D Theater box office.
In addition to up-close encounters with amazing animals during any of more than a dozen free daily programs, guests visiting during September can catch up on several new updates to the Aquarium experience.
College and Scout Day Discount Rates*:
- Tennessee Aquarium: $17.50 (adults and college students) / $11.00 (ages 3-12)
- IMAX*: $6.00 (adults) / $5.00 (ages 3-12)
- Tennessee Aquarium/IMAX combo ticket: $21.50 (adults) / $15.00 (ages 3-12)
We haven’t used an official reading curriculum in the past with our kids, but I always have wondered about a few different ones. We were recently given the opportunity to review All About Reading Deluxe Kit Level 2 from Timberdoodle and we jumped at the chance. All About Reading is available in Pre-Reading, Level 1, 2, 3, and 4.
- Level 2 Teacher’s Manual
- Student Packet with Activity Book
- Two readers
- Reader Divider Cards
- Reading Review Box
- The Letter Tiles App (available on iTunes, Google Play, or Kindle)
- Letter Tiles
- Tote Bag
- Phonograms Sounds App
All About Reading Level 2 Features:
- Decoding (Phonics): Learn new phonograms WH, EE, ER, AR, OR, ED, OY, OI, AW, AU, OW, and OU to read words such as whale, sheep, herd, farm, horn, toy, boil, saw, haul, flower, and found; read words with long I or O before two consonants as in find and gold; read words with soft C or G as in race or gem, and learn the first four jobs of Silent E
- Decoding (Structural Analysis): Lean to identify base words, read contractions such as “they’ll”, learn syllable division rules for reading multisyllable words, and read words with past tense ending ed, as in wanted, snowed, and chipped
- Vocabulary: Discuss new words in the context of the story and one’s own life, and understand homophones, synonyms, and antonyms.
- Fluency: Read with accuracy, meaningful expression, and natural phrasing.
- Comprehension: Connect text to one’s own experiences, make predictions, identify the main character, compare and contrast main characters, discuss character motivation and main conflict, skim for specific information, and make inferences from the text.
I admit at this point in our homeschooling journey, I really appreciate curriculum that spells everything out for me so I don’t have to spend hours and hours planning. The first thing that I noticed with All About Reading Level 2 is that step-by-step lesson plans are included in the Teacher’s Manual.
The first step in preparing the program was getting the letter tiles ready. I simply was able to separate the letter tiles and then apply the magnets to the back of the letter tiles. A magnetic white board is preferred for this program, but we did fine just organizing the letters in front of us and skipping the white board. After this, I prepared the syllable tags and the Reading Review Box.
I was a little nervous starting this program on Level 2 since we do not have any prior experience with this program. I wondered if the kids would be able to follow along with the program without having the Level 1 complete. It turned out to be just fine.
Each lesson includes a “Before You Begin” section to guide parents on how to prepare for that day’s lesson. It’s very important to read this section before you start. Next, there is a review section where the program directs the teacher on which phonogram cards and words to review for that day. The “New Teaching” section introduces something new for the day. Throughout everything, teacher’s are guided and it is very easy to follow. At the end, the teacher is encouraged to read aloud for 20 minutes, keep a record, and mark the progress chart.
There are 57 lessons in the All About Reading Level 2. It’s important to note that it’s not expected to complete a lesson every day. Lessons can take as much or as little time as needed to understand the material.
The program grants permission to photocopy the student materials in the book for household use only. That is an important feature for large families like mine!
As I mentioned earlier, we have been using the program for a a few weeks as part of our homeschooling. In that time, I’ve grown to love this program. I decided to use the program with both my 7 and 9 year old girls. I felt that both girls could benefit from extra reading practice.
So far, it’s been a success! The hands-on activities have greatly helped my tactile learner improve her reading skills. The girls also like doing the activities. I find when my children enjoy learning something, they retain the information far better. This program is easy to use with more than one child at the same time.
One of the things that we created with the program is the flip book pictured above. My girls cut out the ending sounds to blend with the “st” sound. It was pretty neat to flip through and see all the different words that can be created.
We look forward to continuing All About Reading Level 2 throughout this school year and will probably continue with the program. I greatly appreciate Timberdoodle for providing this awesome product for us to review and find another program that works wonderfully for my children.
I had my friend Merry write an article for you guys about how to get a driver’s license as a homeschooler. Really, I think I needed the step by step instructions and she did a great job! My 15 year old now has her driver’s permit. It was pretty painless given the wonderful information Merry provided.
Big thank you to Merry for this great article on her experience with teen drivers!
Got a soon-to-be-driving teen in your house? If you’re like me, you may need some guidance in figuring out what your child needs to know, do and have in order to get their license. This is especially important and confusing if you are homeschooling your teen. It can be overwhelming. I’ve tried to gather all things new-teen driver related into one post for our local readers. If you think I’ve missed something, please leave a comment!
In Georgia, teens go through a graduated driver’s license program because of the Teenage and Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA). It is a three-step educational process that helps teens gain more experience with driving. As they complete the requirements of each permit, they are allowed to graduate to less restrictive licenses. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) has a page with everything you need to know for teens, but I’ve broken it down with links for each step below.
The first thing to know is that there are Georgia Department of Driver Services offices all over the state, and you will be visiting one of them at least twice. Of course, there is one in Athens, but you can go to other offices if you choose. Some of the offices are much busier with much longer waits than others. We used the one in Greensboro with no real wait time at all.
When your child is 15, they can get their instructional permit (class CP), often called a learner’s permit.
• There are documents you must take with you to the DDS. You will need a current certificate of school enrollment to verity that your teen attends school. If you are attending a school, the school office will have to fill this out and notarize it. They do this all the time and will probably have forms there. If your student is homeschooled, you will need a copy of their homeschool declaration of intent instead. You will also need their birth certificate and social security card. It would also be good to take something official showing your child’s residential address; an envelope, postcard or magazine they’re received in the mail, maybe. There is an application you will have to fill out and sign, but you can skip a step by filling in the application before you go there. If you do, print it out and take it with you, but do NOT sign it until they tell you to once you are there.
• Your child will be expected to pass a knowledge exam about rules of the road and road signs. You can find information you need to practice in the DDS driver manual. They also must pass a quick vision test to make sure they can see well enough to drive.
• You will have to pay $10 for the permit. This permit is valid for 2 years.
With their new learner’s permit, your teen is ready to learn to drive! But they must always be accompanied by someone over 21 who has a valid full license (class C). While they have their learner’s license, they are required to complete a total of 40 hours of driving, including 6 hours at night in order to get their intermediate license at 16 . . . so get them driving! We started our son off in large parking lots and secluded, not-busy roads.
A part of TADRA is Joshua’s law, which requires teens who want to get their license at age 16 to complete an approved driver’s education course first. If you and your teen decide to wait until they are 17 to be able to drive on their own, then it is NOT required to take a driver’s education course, although it would give you a discount on insurance if they do!
• Driver’s education courses done with professional instructors are very thorough, and your teen would get on-the-road driving practice with them. They take about 30 hours. The downside is they are costly . . . $300 or more. That being said, there is an option for a scholarship from the state for driver’s education that is worth looking into! The Georgia DDS site offers a list of certified driver training schools. Many high schools have instructors come do a class there at certain times in the year, and it is open to anyone (for a fee), regardless of if they attend the school or not, I believe. Check the list to see if a high school near you offers it.
• Athens Technical College offers a driver’s education course for $350. The option I mentioned above for a scholarship applies for this course as well. They also have a driver’s education simulator that allows your teen to practice with an instructor without actually being on the road for $35!
• Another option is to have your teen take a driver’s education course online. They still would take 30 hours to do the course, but it would all be done online. The Georgia DDS site also offers a list of certified online driver’s education courses. The benefit of this option is the convenience of doing it at home and the cost. It varies depending on which company you use but costs as little as $30. The downside of this option is that it may not be as thorough as it would with an instructor, or your teen may breeze through it without really paying attention. Honestly, my son did the course online, and when he did the road test at 16, he didn’t pass it the first time because of several small rules of the road he didn’t remember learning in the online class.
Another part of TADRA is that any driver under the age of 18 must complete the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP). If your teen is enrolled in a school, that course is done at the school, usually in freshman year. But there is an online option for homeschooled teens. It is free, and takes about four hours to complete.
If your teen is 16, got their learner’s permit and has had it for at least a year, has driven for at least 40 hours with at least 6 of those at night, has completed a driver’s education course and has completed ADAP, . . . OR they are 17, have or have NOT done a driver’s education course but HAVE done ADAP and HAVE driven for 40 hours with 6 of those at night . . . then they are ready to go for their intermediate license (class D). WHEW!!
This license allows them to drive by themselves, with some restrictions. They are not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. For the first 6 months, they are not allowed ANY passenger who is not a family member. For the second 6 months, they are not allowed more than ONE non-family passenger who is less than 21. After the second 6 month period, they are not allowed more than THREE non-family member passengers who are less than 21.
• You must take the same documents to DDS that you took for their learner’s permit plus two additional documents; their certificates of completion for their driver’s education course and ADAP. You also need proof of vehicle insurance and registration for the car they will drive for the road test. You will also be expected to sign a document swearing that your teen did the required 40 hours of driving, including 6 at night. Again, you will need to fill in and sign an application, which you can do ahead of time. If you do, print it and take it there with you, and do NOT sign it until they tell you to while you are there.
• Your teen may again have to pass a knowledge exam and a vision exam.
• This time, they must take a road test. This means an individual will get in the vehicle with your child and ride with them to assess their driving, but it’s done on a closed course at the DDS. This link tells you some of the things they will watch for. One important note here . . . you must schedule an appointment IN ADVANCE for the ROAD TEST!! From what I see, the only way to set up an appointment is to call the phone number. When I called, I was put on hold. They have an option that allows you to keep your place in line to speak with the representative, and the system will call you back when it’s time. Considering that it took THREE HOURS for it to be my turn to speak to someone, I recommend you do that! How soon you can get an appointment for a road test depends on how busy the office where you want to do it is. I asked about the office in the town of Between and couldn’t get an appointment for a road test there for a month, so I asked about the office in Greensboro and they had plenty of openings. We were able to get our appointment there for the next day.
• You will pay $10 for this license. It is valid for 5 years. But, when they are 18, they will want to get their full license (class C).
You made it this far . . . the last step is simple! Once your teen is 18, they can upgrade their license to a full class C, which has no restrictions. This can be done online, thankfully! They may get a card in the mail reminding them. As long as their class D intermediate license is still valid and they have no major traffic convictions in the last year, they can upgrade it. Of course, if they haven’t gotten any licenses before now and this is their first time getting a license at all, they will have to go to a DDS office with their documentation and take the knowledge exam, road test and vision exam.
THERE! Now you have a full fledged driver just in time for them to fly from the nest (sniff).
Smart Kidz Radio is a free online radio station designed just for kids! You can listen in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the website or one of their apps. The Smart Kidz Radio Live Stream is available in the app store for both Android and IOS devices. If you prefer to not add another app to your device, it can be streamed from your computer as well. Once you’re ready and either have the app or the website open, all you have to do is create an account and start listening by pressing the play button! My kids were able to do this independently after I set up the account.
In the Podcast section, you can find some of your favorite fairy tales available for instant listening. These were pretty neat to listen to while we were doing an art project or enjoying some quiet family time. My younger children liked to scroll through the different podcasts and pick which one they wanted to listen to at that moment. Some of the fairy tales you can listen to for free anytime include:
- Alice in Wonderland
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- Hansel and Gretel
- Jack and the Beanstock
- Little Red Riding Hood
- Rip Van Winkle
- Robin Hood
- Sleeping Beauty
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The Three Little Pigs
- The Three Musketeers
- The Tortoise and the Hare
- Treasure Island
- Aladdin and his Magic Lamp
- The Itsy Bitsy Spider
- and more!
In addition to the free channel and stories, Smart Kidz Radio will be offering a membership for $3.99 a month. With this membership, you will receive access to their On-Demand Radio programs with over 1,000 original children’s songs and stories! The On-Demand Radio program includes songs from the following:
- My First Life Skills
- My First Baby Signs
- Good Behavior Builder
- Living Skills
- Skills to Survive and Grow
- Children’s Favorite Sing-along
- Relaxation Program
- Animal Songs
- Treasury of Christmas Classics
- Classic Fairy Tales
- Best Loved Bible Stories
- Grandpa Tyler’s Storytime
- Not So Scary Tales
We’ve listened a lot over the past few weeks and my younger children really like the songs. I definitely think the songs on this website are geared toward preschool and younger elementary school students. Most of the songs have a teaching aspect like respecting your parents or being kind to friends. At times, it did seem like we heard several of the songs more often than others, but that’s okay with us given it’s a free program. Our family will continue to use Smart Kidz Radio when the littles want to listen to the radio. I also see us continuing to use the podcast section to listen to the fairy tales.
Want to read more reviews about this product and others? Simply click the banner below to hear what other homeschool parents had to say.
If you care to look back, you can see what we used in the 2015-2016 year here or in the 2016-2017 school year here. Last year’s 2017-2018 can be found here. Some of it is the same and some has changed.
Also, be sure to read my article- Homeschooling a Preschooler – See What Works for Us!.
This upcoming school year, I will have a 10th grader, 6th grader, 3rd grader, 2nd grader and a preschooler. Last year I told y’all that my older 2 were going to do the majority of their social studies, science, and language arts with a tutor one day a week. That went VERY well and we will continue again this year.
Math, we are once again using Horizons Math, but only for 2 of my children. For my oldest, we will continue with Math-U-See. My 3rd grader will also be starting with Math-U-See since she is struggling with Horizons. We are also continuing with XtraMath.org. I can’t say enough great things about this website! It’s a completely free way to make sure your kids understand all of their math facts. As a mom, I can login and see how they are doing as well and what needs improvement. We actually bribe the kids and each day they get a green light, meaning that they did well, they get a piece of candy. Once they completely finish a chart, they earn $1 🙂 Usually it takes many months for them to complete the chart, but that’s okay!
We are continuing Building Spelling Skills for the middle 3 to work on spelling. We really slacked on that the past year.
My 2nd and 3rd graders will also continue working on Explode the Code. This is a very simple program, but can help with the fundamentals for the little kids. Takes just a couple minutes each day and they are fun!
We have actually decided to stop paying for ReadingEggs and have switched to a program that we like better called Reading Kingdom. I feel it’s been much more thorough and has been teaching typing along with reading. You can get a FREE month here. We tried it out for a review and loved it.
This past year, once again we greatly slacked on our Bible lessons, however my son has taken it upon himself as a challenge to read through the Bible. He’s been doing well with that. For now, all the kids will also continue with VeritasBible.com.
History we will continue to pull from Allinonehomeschool.com for the little girls and of course the vast variety of books at the library.
Science we will also continue to pull from Allinonehomeschool.com for the little girls, enjoy homeschool day at Sandy Creek, and of course the library as well.
My 10th grader will be using Apologia’s Chemistry and my 6th grader will be using God’s Design for Science
A while back, I wrote an article about how we homeschooled year round and loved it. In fact, that was 4 years ago. Since then, many things have changed. The kids are getting older, we’ve added another kid, this teacher is getting more tired, and life has happened.
Even though we do still love taking breaks throughout the year when places aren’t as busy, we find that having a summer break for mental health reasons is so needed this year. As I type this, we are wrapping up our school year with about another 2 weeks to go. I am already feeling so done. I want to close the door to the school room and run away!
Don’t get me wrong, I like homeschooling and love being around my kids. I just find that when everything doesn’t revolve around school, our relationships with the children are much easier. It’s hard finding the balance being both mom and teacher.
This summer we are taking a much needed official break. We have an end date and the kids know that on that date, mom is going to cease being teacher.
I will not check any more work. I will be done. They may not finish every last page of their books. And that’s okay. My high schooler may have to pick back up on her math in the fall. That’s okay as well. We want to have fun and enjoy the kids.
School isn’t the end all. Relationships matter. The kids matter. My sanity matters.
Homeschoolers, it’s time to enroll your children in grades K-6 in the Pizza Hut Book-It program for 2018-2019! Head on over to their website and enter in your information to the program. We’ve done this for several years and the kids always enjoy going to get their free pizza. Yum!
On their first visit to Pizza Hut, students redeem their certificate for a Personal Pan Pizza, a Passport to Reading award to track their reading through all six months and a sticker. On subsequent visits, they will earn another Personal Pan Pizza and sticker to add to their Passport.