Homeschool Writing with Memoria Press {a review}

Homeschool Writing with Memoria Press #hsreviews #homeschool #writing #elementarywritingskills

Memoria Press has hit a home run, again, with their Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) with Teacher Key. We have been using these for writing practice, and I *love* them.

As with everything we’ve tried from Memoria Press, my children have been eager to use the books, and it has been very easy to implement in our homeschool.

About Simply Classical Writing

Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) is set up in an easy to use format. The beginning pages provide all the “rules” of writing the student will be using during the book (and in life, of course). The simple lessons include color coding parts of sentences (green for the first capital letter, red for ending punctuation, etc), sentencing copying, and creating sentences on their own.

What do Lessons Look Like

In Book 1, students should look over the rules about sentences in the beginning as review, of the book before lessons. Of course this could be done orally with the parent. I really like that they have broken down the Teacher’s Notes in day by day steps. There are also modification suggestions (yay!) and helpful ideas if some of the work is too easy. This makes it fun, and creates confident learners.

My soon to be first grade son has been *begging* to work in this book! He really enjoys it; I think he likes unscrambling the words to make a sentence and color coding the most.

Homeschool Writing with Memoria Press #hsreviews #homeschool #writing #elementarywritingskills

You will begin each lesson by reading the assigned Bible story, learning the rule of that lesson (or reviewing), and then work through a creative exercise that involves applying the rules to writing sentences. Creative exercises may be a copying a decodable sentence, a read aloud sentence, illustrating the Bible story the lesson focuses on, and writing a sentence to describe that picture. Color coding parts of the sentences helps solidify the rules of writing. I really like how the lessons put emphasis on different parts of writing-like proper nouns, describing words, etc.

In Book 2, my 8 year old has been working independently. She also enjoys her lessons, and wanted to begin at the beginning of her book… my little Type A 😉

Homeschool Writing with Memoria Press #hsreviews #homeschool #writing #elementarywritingskills

This book provides writing and grammar rules (yay for grammar), copywork, and opportunities for students to create their own good sentences every week. The Teacher’s Guide provides How to Teach step by step instructions, as well as Additional Tips. I really like how Memoria Press includes information for parents that helps them understand some developmental elements to our children’s learning- it is natural for children to make certain mistakes, and they ease parents minds with a little info here.

Homeschool Writing with Memoria Press #hsreviews #homeschool #writing #elementarywritingskills

In Book 2’s Teacher Guide you will find a suggested schedule offering 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day schedules. Rules About Sentences are provided in both student books and the TG.

For lessons, teacher and student will read the assigned Bible story, follow the directions for the lesson(s) based on the schedule you have chosen … or go at your own pace like we do (which is doing more than one lesson)! And then edit the work together. I like the emphasis Memoria Press places on gentle correction of any errors. Writing is actually pretty complicated for children- it requires a lot from their brains. Few people are born natural writers; most students need gentle practice, and lots of it.

The process these books take to break down writing so students can fine tune their skills really helps solidify those rules of grammar and composition. i like that further into the books I see words like similiesadverbs, and even categorizing.

Memoria Press has integrated reading, writing, and grammar seamlessly in Simply Classical Writing Book One: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition) and Simply Classical Writing Book Two: Step-by-Step Sentences (Bible Story Edition).

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Classical Writing & Spelling, American History & Jewish Wars {Memoria Press Reviews}

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Teaching Cursive with a Young Struggling Writer {a review & coupon code}

For at least a year my 7 year old (and oldest) daughter has been begging to learn cursive! Her daily handwriting book transitions to cursive later this school year, and she has been so excited to start. Practicing cursive on her own from what she has seen in every day life, she has learned to write her name, and a few others as well, so it only seemed natural to jump at the chance to review CursiveLogic. As part of our review we used the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack and The Art of Cursive coloring book.

This multi-sensory approach to learning cursive is so easy and common-sense I was asking myself why we didn’t learn this way when I was a child?! As a homeschooling mama I find it easy to teach, and absolutely no fuss- no extra supplies, no clutter to add to our already overflowing shelves of manipulatives. Everything you need to teach a child cursive writing comes in one simple Quick-Start Pack.

About CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack

The CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack is an easy to use and easy to teach cursive program based on 4 letter “strings.” Similarly shaped letters are grouped together in “strings,” which means that connecting those strings comes more naturally! No more dry, tedious practice of repeating individual letters over and over for weeks on end before learning to really write in cursive. If done at the pace recommended, students are writing real words the first week! The program is designed in such a way that with 1:1 instruction, children can complete lessons much more quickly if they’d like, or more slowly (like we’ve done) to fit their needs without getting bored, frustrated, or losing momentum. Regardless of what pace you choose, students are successful at writing and connecting cursive letters from the very beginning!

Included in the CursiveLogic Quick-Start Pack is:

  • one CursiveLogic workbook
  • access to an instructional webinar (active for 6 months after time of purchase)

The workbook is spiral bound at the top allowing both right and left handed students to use it with ease.  Lower case lessons are found on the front of each page, and upon coming to the end, students simply flip the book over working back through the book on reverse pages. The design is genius, and my daughter was thrilled to tell her daddy all about how she gets to “flip it over to keep going!”

There are a few resource/informational pages in the first section of the workbook, which allowed us to go over the fundamentals of preparing for cursive writing and each time we need a refresher-so easy for student and teacher. The instructions are clear, the pages are crisp and of very high quality making writing on them an experience in itself. (Um … journaling, paper, and pen nerd here!)

The webinar is for the teacher (or perhaps a much older student that is self directed?) to learn the method of CursiveLogic and how to teach it. This is a very specific method, and is much different from how most of us learned cursive writing. As I mentioned, the method itself is based on learning 4 strings of 6 lower case letters at a time, their pattern, and the catch phrase which is associated with it. Each string has its own color which helps visually when learning, and the repetition of the catch phrase helps make students of all learning types successful at cursive writing! This is a multi-sensory approach to writing; and let me tell you- if you have a a child with a learning difficulty that affects their writing, (or a child that learns outside of the typical tracing/copying/video based learning) this may be just the program for your family! Cursive letters come later in the course, making the transition from lowercase to uppercase seamless.

At just over 45 minutes, the webinar holds all the wisdom to be had when teaching cursive, and using CursiveLogic to do so. This was a very quick and fun, yet important, part of the program. I watched it before we began, and have viewed sections several times before lessons. This really pulled the method and idea of the program together for me, making it easy and natural to teach my 7 year old.

How We Used CursiveLogic

Almost 2 years ago we noticed a few things that seemed off about her learning & writing, so with much investigation and prayer, we took our daughter in for an occupational therapy evaluation which led us to a developmental ophthalmologist. It was one of the very best things we’ve ever done for her, and while the journey has been long and will be part of our life for a while to come, it opened our eyes greatly to a few struggles she is experiencing. One of those struggles includes writing due to a very complicated vision dysfunction diagnosis she received last year. This dysfunction makes it difficult for her to read and write the way most people can.

Her handwriting alone has been a true personal struggle, a point of frustration for her because she is a perfectionist who leans towards anxiety. I have to give a lot of reassurance that her work is her best effort, and that’s what matters-not how perfect it is. Printing and spacing take so much concentrated effort for her that she often forgets what she is writing, as forming letters and numbers don’t come with ease, even after years of practice.

*Insert CursiveLogic here*

CursiveLogic has *truly* changed how she sees writing, how she feels about writing. The process itself has been a learning curve, she is only 7 and has been writing in print since she was 3 or 4. But despite the learning curve, CursiveLogic has come more naturally than print ever did. I asked her today if learning cursive has been easy or hard compared to learning print, her response was, “It isn’t harder … but it is much more fun!” (and let me tell you, as her mama and teacher, it has been easier!)

Tracing each letter string with her finger, then pencil, while repeating the catch phrase that correlates to that string has helped her handwriting tremendously! Learning in strings that are all similar shapes has increased muscle memory, which for her at this time, has not happened with print. I can only imagine that learning cursive the “old” way would have caused her more frustration & built a road block to learning- but not with CursiveLogic!

As a *rule follower* she took the instructions in the workbook very seriously- they are so helpful and clear; she is careful to watch her arm in alignment with the edge of the page, keep her posture, and works on relaxing her hand. These are all things that take a determined effort for her, and while they frustrated her when printing, she has found them a support when writing in cursive. She feels successful and excited to write!

Each day she asks if she can do cursive- it is a reward for after we have completed other work. CursiveLogic has made the process of learning cursive so simple for an otherwise struggling writer. We have taken it slowly with this program, because I was concerned about handwriting and her frustration/anxiety. She hasn’t become overwhelmed at all, and is always eager to get to the parts of the lesson where she uses her pencil. I watch the parts of the webinar for that day’s lesson if I feel I need a refresher, show her what we are doing, and then we work together.

I am very proud of her and the progress she has made, her new found confidence in writing, and thankful for CursiveLogic!

I would absolutely recommend this program for a typical learner, or a struggling learner/writer. The multi-sensory approach to writing cursive makes it attractive to all learning styles, and more effective. Because she was able to start right away forming “strings” and shortly there after words, she felt successful from the start. Using colors and auditory cues to help remember certain formations has also helped with muscle memory- no road blocks here! Every time we get ready for a cursive lesson, there is excitement! We will be writing spelling words in cursive soon, and I can’t wait to share that progress with you. (I will have before and after photos later today when my wordpress cooperates.)

The Art of Cursive

~Calling all fountain pen lovers~ (Yes, that would be me … Oh, and markers, too!)

The Art of Cursive is an absolutely gorgeous coloring book intended for adults or for a student who has completed the program. This coloring book includes 4 lessons (perhaps as a refresher?), is intricate, and will not disappoint. I know many adults who love to color and also work on their handwriting for journaling and scrapbooking- this is a perfect gift idea for them! I promised my daughter we could do it together after she has finished her cursive writing workbook. I have never, ever had beautiful handwriting so I am excited to work in The Art of Cursive to improve my hand.

The pages are thick- perfect for inks, markers, or pencils. I imagine blending markers would be great on these pages as well.

Quick-Start Pack Coupon Code

Using the code CREW2018, you can save 20% on the Quick-Start Pack, which is the webinar + workbook combo.  The code will be active through the end of March. Go ahead and get it for next year’s use, or start now! This would also be a great summer activity/program for students to work through on those hot afternoons during rest or quiet time. Encouraging beautiful penmanship can build confidence and creates an entirely new outlet for young people’s creativity.

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Wholesome Chapter Books For Kids {Circle C Series}

Finding a new book series for my 6.5 year old daughter to read independently has proven to be challenging.  We prefer non-twaddle books with sustenance, lessons, and deeper vocabulary than I can usually find in books targeted at most 6 year old…

When we had a chance to review Circle C Stepping Stones:  Andi Saddles Up ($7.99) and Andi Under the Big Top ($7.99) by Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow, I was very excited!

These are two exciting books from the Circle C Stepping Stones series, about a young girl names Andi.  In the first book of the series, Andi Saddles Up (112 pages), Andi makes a new friend on the ranch, but soon realizes both of their families are in a battle.  The two girls must overcome their families’ issues so they can continue their friendship.  There are lessons taught and learned from both children, and adults.

Andi Under The Big Top (112 pages) is the second book in this series; Andi helps a young boy who is in trouble, working for the circus.  Although she thought everything looked and seemed perfect and fun at the circus, she soon realizes she has been called to help Henry, and has to make a tough decision in doing so.

What We Thought

My 6.5 year old enjoyed these chapter books.  She spends a lot of time reading, and I do not have time to pre-read everything that comes in our home (most of the time I don’t pre read at all).  She felt comfortable reading these herself, and neither of us found inappropriate content for her.

There is fun, adventure, and lessons to be learned in both books; Lexie was able to point those out to me and discuss them pretty well, just from what she read and experienced in the books.  That is one more reason I can say these are good books to have on our shelf.

We also enjoyed the coloring pages found on the author’s website!

The coloring pages are beautiful illustrations, free, and go nicely with the books.  Because we enjoy journaling many of our books, Lexie will turn these into a literature journal of sorts to go along with each title.  We have not yet made it that far into our work, but that is our plan.

Circle C Stepping Stones

Along with the coloring pages, Susan K. Marlow has provided free activity pages that enrich the entire literature experience! These will also be added into our notebooking/literature journal for Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top; they are fun, complete activities which cover everything from comprehension to maps and hands on projects.  The creator has even covered character traits, which I know we homeschoolers like to cover- as well as puzzles.  I love that these are provided free, to help make a complete study of these books.  You also have the option of purchasing these printed in a spiral bound form.

If you enjoy creating units, this is just what you’re looking for!

You can see all the Circle C Stepping Stones titles HERE.  There will be 4 more coming to the series (yay!), which we are looking forward to.  Also, Susan K. Marlow has other series that look wonderful- we will probably be adding them to our library at some point.

I am relieved and excited that we have found a new historic series that I feel I can trust.  Lexie’s first words about the books, with eyes wide with excitement, were, “They are new western books from the 1800’s!”

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Enriching Writing Skills {Institute for Excellence In Writing: a review}

IEW Resource Pack {a review}

As a homeschool mom, I *love* having shelves full of resources- resources for parenting, devotions, and of course school!  As part of The Crew, we reviewed the Resource Set from Institute for Excellence in Writing, which included:

  1. Timeline of Classics ($29)
  2. Teaching with Games Set ($29)
  3. A Word Write Now ($35)

These were SO fun to review because they are SO useful!  I went to college for teaching; I graduated with my BSE in early childhood education in 2011.  I love using what I learned in college with my children- a few of the things I learned 1) children learn best through quality literature, not textbooks, 2) children learn through hands on fun and games, and 3) teach students to use resources so they can educate themselves to become life long learners.

That is exactly what this entire resource set does!

The Timeline of Classics (view a sample HERE) is like having your own librarian with the knowledge of classic literature titles, in chronological order at your finger tips!  I *love* this resource and cannot wait to use it more as we continue our studies and cycle through history a few times.  It offers books, films, and audio pieces from literally every period of history in an easy to read spreadsheet format.

Timeline of Classics {IEW Review}

We have been reading about the vikings, and were able to find books that fit our topic and time period for the last few weeks.  The list begins with The Ancients and ends with The Modern World.  Each page of the spreadsheet also offers a beautiful quote related to that time period.  The book is a soft cover with a nice spiral binding.

I really love this book!

IEW Spreadsheet Sample {a review}

The Teaching With Games Set is exactly what it sounds like- a workshop for parents and teachers to learn how to create and teach using games! (see a sample HERE) as well as an entire book of game ideas.  The book is 177 pages & is broken down into 5 different sections:

  1. No-Prep Games
  2. Matching Card Games
  3. Question Games
  4. Math Facts games
  5. Make As You Teach Games

The book offers game titles with their instructions; games include their cards/pieces/pages that are ready for you to copy and use (there is permission to copy them as needed!), as well as templates for making your own games!  Each game has a description and ideas for when it is most useful to use that particular game (ie:memorization, timeline, vocabulary, math facts, science definitions, etc).

My children are young so we adapted many of the games to fit our needs.  We enjoyed the Academic 20 Questions game, using people from our current missionary and Bible studies (we also did it with our family members for my 3 year old).  The matching games were also great for us; as there are many ready-to-go games to copy, cut out, and use just as they are.  We had fun with the Avoid the Card: Complete in Christ game; we used it as character lessons for how we can clothe ourselves in Christ.  Though you can use most of the games as they are, you can easily expand how you use them for even more learning.  This resource as a whole is appropriate for all ages and will be useful for many years to come.

Teaching with Games {IEW Review}

Included throughout are science games, geography games (I cannot WAIT to use all these as my children get older!), math and history games; most of the games are completely new to me!  This is a must have resource for learning new concepts as well as reviewing.

The 2 DVDs and 1 CD set included is very helpful for parents and teachers.  The 2 DVDs demonstrate how to use and adapt the games for every age group and group size.  They are broken down into to discs: 1) No Prep Games and Matching Card Games and 2) Question Games, Math Facts Games, and Make As You Teach Games.  The CD is actually the e-book of the printed material!  This is *awesome sauce.*  If you don’t have access to a fancy printer with a copier, (or just hate making copies) you can very easily print the materials you need from the e-book!

A Word Write Now is 112 spiral bound pages of creative, wonderfully organized words to choose from instead of your ordinary go-to adjectives.  Unlike other thesauruses, which can be boring and hard to use, this book is organized by character qualities and behavior traits!  It is divided into sections:

  • Section A: Character Traits (ex: dishonest, anger, wisdom)
  • Section B: Descriptive Words (ex: color, size, texture)
  • Section C: Words for Movement and the Senses (ex: hands, smelling, thinking)
  • Section D: Appendix
    • Playing with Words – Make it fun!
    • Transitions Not Related to Time
    • Prepositions – Excellent for Memorization
    • Categories of Literary Genres
    • Definitions and Examples of Literary Devices

A Word Write Now {IEW Review}

For each word in the thesaurus, you will find a definition, a lovely quote using or describing the word), quotes from classic literature, and then lists for alternative words for each part of speech: nouns, nouns character, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.  There is even a column for writing in your own words (which could become a great mini-lesson in itself!).

I mean, I can’t even describe all the ways this resource is useful for writing!  Students can use this thesaurus to write truly unique, meaningful pieces.

Overall, our thoughts are we really love this entire set.  We have used it to enrich the language we use in our home through writing and narration.

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