Why We Love the “All About Reading” Program!

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We love using"All About Reading" in our homeschool days! We are currently teaching our third child to read, and this is the best program I've tried!

I view potty training and teaching reading in about the same light. In other words, I dread it. Thankfully though, the third time around has been so much easier with the “All About Reading” program!

With our oldest son I tried several different reading programs. I always grew up hearing stories of how I was reading the Little House books when I was 6 and I sort of expected the same out of my children. My son was going on 8 by the time he started reading really fluently. Now I can’t keep him out of books!

Our second son basically taught himself how to read. I started him on the basics and he took off by himself. There are pluses and minuses to that. We didn’t keep going with a phonics based program as long as we should have, so he doesn’t have some of the phonics rules in his head to go back and rely on.

When it was time to teach our third child to read, I was really dreading it. I was hoping that teaching a girl would be easier. Honestly, I haven’t found that gender makes a difference here. : )

My preschool age child loves to use the Pre-Reading level with All About Reading!

Olivia doing an activity from All About Reading Pre-Reading

The curriculum that I’m using, however, has made a considerable difference. It’s helped my attitude as a teacher and made our reading lesson time go a lot smoother.

All About Reading has an extremely solid program that is so incredibly teacher friendly! I couldn’t be happier with the program and plan on using it to teach the rest of our children how to read.

As a busy homeschool mom I don’t want an elaborate $300 reading program that comes with a huge kit I have to keep together and use. I’ve also tried the highly recommended basic reading programs (like “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”) and they just don’t work well for us. This has the perfect mixture of learning and fun activities, plus the price is affordable.

Some Reasons I Love “All About Reading”

1. It tells the teacher exactly what to say. This is huge for me. With five children there is a lot of activity going on during the day. We might be doing our reading lesson on the couch together, but the younger two girls are playing on the floor right by us, and the older two have their grammar DVD going on in the other room. I need a program that is super easy and very clearly laid out. I never struggle with knowing what I’m supposed to do or say with All About Reading. I feel confident as a teacher using this program.

2. The lessons build on each other slowly. For the most part I think the lessons don’t move too fast. In the middle of Level 1 we had to stop for a few months and just focus on readers and reviewing words, as she wasn’t ready to keep going. Once we picked it back up she was more than ready to keep going. Every child is unique, just being sensitive to the struggles and strengths of your child is important.

3. I love the flash cards and tiles that go along with the series – and who can forget the activity pages! I think the combination of all three of these things makes the program very unique. Carrianna loves it when I let her use chocolate chips to mark letters on certain activity pages. It makes the program even more fun! :)

4. The curriculum is not foolish. I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again – finding curriculum that is not full of silly illustrations and foolish text is vitally important to our family. This curriculum can be funny, and it grabs the attention of the child (Ziggy the Puppet is wonderful!) but it doesn’t cross over into foolish nonsense.

5. Writing is not included in reading. I love this aspect of it! I’ve found that your ability to write and your ability to read does not always come at the same time. I’d rather add in my own writing program, and the amount I want my child to do separately. We use A Reason for Handwriting and love it!

6. There is no teacher prep time needed each day. When you receive the set in the mail you have to tear the flash cards apart along the perforated line and put in the box that holds the cards. Other than that you can just open the book and start the program! Some days you have to cut apart little word cards and staple them together, but I do that while my child is reading to me.

We love using All About Reading in our homeschool days! After trying several different programs this is my favorite!

7. It does not take a huge chunk of time out of our day! With soon to be six children, I don’t have an hour to devote to a reading program for one child. It takes us about 15-20 minutes to do a lesson, sometimes 30 if she is struggling with new words.

We have just a few lessons left with All About Reading Level 1 and will be moving right along to Level 2. Marie Ripple, the creator of these amazing programs has also written a spelling program to go along with the reading program (I wrote a review about it here). She suggests getting through the level 1 reading, and then starting the All About Spelling level 1 with the All About Reading level 2. So we will be doing that next week!

I appreciate that Marie Ripple does not stress grade levels. Carrianna is in first grade and will turn seven next month. I know some children have already gotten through level one by now, but she really needed to take this pace and I’m ok with where we are at! If she is anything like her older brother, she is on the verge of just taking off in reading and will spend her afternoons curled up on the couch reading. :)

All About Reading Readers

If you are looking for a new reading program I highly recommend giving this a try! This company has an unbelievable return policy – they give you a full year to return the material for your full purchase price, excluding shipping. What outstanding customer service!

Are you overwhelmed with what level to start at? Every level has a free placement test, plus they also offer downloads of each book (teacher guide, student activity book, and readers) so you can get a better idea of how the books are laid out!

*My disclaimer…because you just have to put it in! I received All About Reading Level 2 to review, but all thoughts are my own and I was not paid to write this review!*

How would one of you like to win an All About Reading level of your choice? Did I mention they have four levels, plus the Pre-Reading level? You can enter to win through the Rafflecopter below (limited to USA and Canada only please).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

How I simplify My Homeschool Day With Textbooks

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I was homeschooled K-12 and was given a fantastic Charlotte Mason education—a philosophy of education that emphasizes “living books” and no textbooks at all. During High School I actually read through some of Charlotte Mason’s books myself. Even as a 17 year old I loved her philosophies and dreamed of the day when I could homeschool my own children with these amazing ideas.

And then I had children.

How Textbooks Help Me Homeschool

 

As I started my homeschool journey I realized that being the teacher versus being the homeschooled student is much harder. I know, amazing thought. :)

After juggling businesses, a husband that went through college full time for several years, and adding new babies to our family, we have experimented with different teaching methods.

Click here to read the rest of my thoughts over at Intoxicated On Life!

 

 

 

Chalk Pastels – An Easy Art Project for Children!

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We struggle getting formal art lessons worked into our school days. My children are always drawing and coloring on their own, so I don’t stress about it as much as I probably should.

When I saw that the chalk pastels ebook was included in the DIY bundle, I was so excited! I’ve wanted to try doing chalk pastels with my children for a long time, and I’ve read wonderful feedback from homeschoolers using this ebook.

 

This is a simple art project to do. All you need is some art paper, chalk pastels, and a tutorial of some sort. I highly recommend the ebook from Southern Hodgepodge, Through the Seasons Chalk Pastels.

You just need a few simple supplies to do chalk pastels!

I purchased my chalk pastels at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, and we were pleased with them.

Drawing out a chalk pastel picture!

I put our iPad in front of them and they followed the instructions on how to draw out their picture.

It is so easy to start learning how to do chalk pastels!

The directions were easy to follow and I was pleased with what my boys were able to do for their very first time!

A baseball chalk pastel picture!

My boys love baseball, so they were happy I picked this tutorial from the ebook for them to do!

Creating chalk pastel pictures are easy when you follow a good guide, such as the one from Southern Hodgepodge!

Carrianna followed several of the tutorials, and then she made her own picture. They have already asked if we can do more chalk pastels tomorrow in school!

For just a few days, you can get the chalk pastel book included in the DIY Bundle! I only promote a few ebook bundles a year, as I don’t like overwhelming my readers with bundle sales.

The Ultimate Bundles that are put together are amazing resources, the ebooks, courses and bonus offers you get! A $1200 value for just $34.95! But you only have a few days to get this deal!

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DIY Bundle Bonus Offers Exclusively from The Modest Mom Blog!

Don’t forget about the extra bonuses you will receive when you order through our blog! Receive a $15 off $30 coupon for the cami page at Deborah & Co. and also receive these sewing cards for children to practice on!

Fill out the google form below once you purchase the bundle to redeem your free offer from us!

Wordmarbles – A Fun Way to Teach Kind Speech!

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Wordmarbles - A fun way to teach your children the importance of kind speech!

Written by Sean Allen – better known as Caroline’s husband. ;) 

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar?

“Quit it!”
“No!”
“You are SO mean!”
“I’m not playing with you!”
“Leave me ALONE!”
“Give me that back!”
“Go away!”

And that’s about enough of that. I could hear the little voices of my children in my head as I typed every one of those lines. And even though they’re in bed as I type this, it’s still enough to make me cringe a little. :)

Every family could benefit from more kindness in their speech. Bickering children who have hardly a nice thing to say to one another make for a very disrupted and tiresome day. Harsh words have a way of taking the peace that ought to reign in your home by the scruff of the neck and booting it out the front door. By bedtime, your ears are nearly ringing with the commotion of it all.

We’ve always had little tolerance for cruel or harsh speaking in our home, but a few months ago it seemed as if our children were constantly at each other’s throats! It usually came in pairs, that is, a different pair would be cross with each other every day. Some days were worse than others and then there were days where it seemed the whole lot of them had morphed into one of those big rolling, brawling balls of kicking and screaming you see in cartoons!

Of course our natural inclination was to diffuse the ball with – you guessed it – more shouting.

This would bring the ball to a stop but it did little to teach our children about the importance of kind words. I realized we needed some help. Something along the lines of a visual aid.

I sat down one night and began to tinker around on the computer. I wanted to come up with something that would help my children see just how often unkind words slipped out of their mouths. I also wanted them to see the times they used kind or gentle speech to one another and to reward them for their efforts. What I eventually came up with was Wordmarbles.

Wordmarbles Supplies needed, so easy and only takes a few minutes to put together!

Wordmarbles couldn’t be simpler. All you need is two mason jars, a bowl, and some marbles. Your marbles represent “words” and they all go in the “words bowl”. We’ve taught our children that words are very much like marbles. They can be smooth and bright and shiny or, if you throw them at someone, they can really hurt! It all depends in how you use them.

Wordmarbles Jar with Kind and Mean speech jars!

If we hear our children using kind words, we tell them to put a marble in the “kind words jar” and if they use mean speech, they have to put a marble in the “mean words jar”. I’ve designed three fun and colorful labels to put on each container – just cut them out, stick them on and you’re ready to go!

The “mean words” and “kind words” labels are nice because they have these little gauges built into the side of them. These are there to help you and your little ones keep track of their speech over the course of the month. You can use these gauges for either rewards or consequences as the jars fill up with marbles.

Labels to use on the Wordmarble Jars!

I was surprised to see how hard our children worked to keep the level of the marbles in the “mean words jar” lower than that of the “kind words jar”! At the end of the month, if our children have more kind words than mean words they get a treat of ice cream, sometimes at home and sometimes from Chick Fil A. :)

As with our Character Badges program, consistency is key. For Wordmarbles to be effective, it’s important to try and acknowledge as many instances of either kind or unkind speech as you can.

You can purchase the Wordmarbles pdf file here for $2.99, but for two days only you can get it totally free when you subscribe to the blog! This offer has expired.