Logic of English {a TOS review}

Logic of English Review

My eldest (now 9) has been an avid reader and a decent speller since he was about 6.  While he doesn't struggle with language arts we have always had a hard time finding a curriculum to fit his needs.  Recently, we have been trying out Essentials 2nd Edition from Logic of English.

What is Logic of English?

Logic of English is a company that specializes in language arts curriculum for struggling readers and children that use English as a second language.  With the idea that children learn in different ways (kinesthetic, visual or auditory) and at different speeds, the Essentials book is written to meet the needs of each child, whether in a classroom or in at home amongst siblings.

Essentials 2nd Edition
Logic of English Review
The Essentials book is a spelling, reading and grammar curriculum for children ages 7 and up.  This 2nd edition has three different spelling levels all in one package.

There are 15 scripted lessons; and, in addition, there are 10 scripted optional pre-lessons.  Each lesson is intended to be completed in one week, with a 5 day a week pacing.  However, the days are segmented in such a way that pacing is quite flexible for your student(s).

When working with my 9 year old we started off in the pre-lessons just to get acquainted with the system.  There are so many details and this book is so incredibly thorough (in a good way) that it took me a couple sessions to learn the rhythm and to not feel like I was pausing every 30 seconds and losing the attention of my son.

What comes with the 2nd Edition Essentials, Volume 1?

There are 13 items that come in the complete package of Essentials, Volume 1, all of which we have received and have been using.
  • Teacher's Guide, Volume 1 - scripted lessons
  • Student Workbook, Volume 1 (consumable) - perforated worksheets that include all 3 levels
  • Spelling Journal (consumable) - this is a place to organize words by sound as you learn different rules for phonograms. 
  • Spelling Rule Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Tiles
  • Advanced Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Morpheme Flash Cards
  • Phonogram Game Cards - Bookface
  • Phonogram Game Cards - Cursive
  • Basic Phonogram Flash Cards
  • Grammar Flash Cards
  • Spelling Analysis Quick Reference
  • Phonogram & Spelling Rule Quick Reference
There is also an Optional Essentials Reader Set to go along with the Essentials package.  In this set is the Essentials Reader, an Essentials Reader Teacher Guide and Essentials Reader Student Activity Book.  These are PDFs designed to accompany the Essentials book and give extra help to older struggling readers or students with dyslexia.  It includes 30 "high-interest" texts.  Topics such as sports, biographies, fun poems and more. 

The lessons in the Essentials Reader are intended to be done along with the lessons in the Essentials book.  So lesson 1 of the reader should be done after lesson 1 of the Essentials book, as the activities and such in the reader build upon what was just learned in the Essentials lessons.

The Essentials Reader Teacher Guide provides notes and activities such as pre-reading, post-reading, handwriting and composition, and extensions along with cross-curricular activities. 

The Essentials Reader Student Activity Book provides printable worksheets such as that for writing (both manuscript and cursive) and other activities.

So how does this all work?

The introduction to Essentials teacher book is 43 pages long and is chuck full of so much helpful information.  To name just a few, you'll find a Scope and Sequence, information on how to teach phonograms, detailed help on how to teach spelling analysis, help on creating your schedule - and even help on how to organize all your cards!

The next 50 pages of the teacher book has a Placement Test and the 10 Pre-Lessons.  This is where we spent a good solid 2 weeks of time.  My son doesn't struggle, but we spent a good chunk of time here, as I said before, to get familiar with the set up and as a refresher for phonogram sounds.  We both actually needed help with some phonograms.  The Pre-Lessons had us playing games, I think, every day, which was great fun for a kid reluctant to begin any language arts learning.  He had a couple weeks of learning that not all English lessons are stuffy and boring.  I mean - games!

The lessons are organized by days, which are then segmented by numbers.  So, for example, Lesson 1, Day 1 has 1.1 through 1.3.  You could do all 3 segments, or like we did, do a segment a day.  The pacing is slower but saved my son from total meltdowns.  Sometimes we'd do 2 segments, sometimes just one, depending on how much time had passed and how his (or my) attitude was.

Each lesson follows the same 5 day pattern:
  • Day 1:  Essential Concepts
  • Day 2:  Building Words
  • Day 3:  Words in Context
  • Day 4:  Words in Action
  • Day 5:  Check Your Understanding
Throughout the scripted lessons, sometimes the student is listening and learning with the cards:  learning a new phonogram, morpheme or spelling rule.  Sometimes there is a little green book icon, prompting him to open his workbook and complete a given page.  Sometimes it's a game on white board or with the cards or in the workbook.  There is a nice variety to this curriculum.

My Thoughts

The variety was really beneficial to us as my guy gets frustrated (bored?) easily.  Not because he struggles but because he hates sitting still.  He loved the games and he loved the different aspects to this program that was in no other program we've done so far, like underlining in different colors and using a highlighter in his student workbook.  He liked the dictation and it was a welcome relief for him compared to writing.

I like that there is a quick reference card for the spelling analysis.  By lesson 2 I was getting into the rhythm and doing much at remaining fluent for Connor, using the card as a quick guide to the steps.  Plus, it makes for a handy bookmark. 

I did like methods used to teach the sounds used for spelling.  While I used the program with my son, not my daughter, I did find that I used methods learned, to teach her how to spell words she was working on, on a different program.  For example, she was having a hard time figuring out how to spell "kick" so I said, "Use the tall /k/ and then two letter /k/".

I liked that concepts are explained.  Such as why a vowel is a vowel or why certain prefixes or suffixes are used.  I felt like it satisfied the constant "but why" we can get from our kids.

To see other reviews on Essentials 2nd edition as well as Foundations for the younger students, click the banner below:

Logic of English Review

Theo: God's Love DVD {a TOS review}

FishFlix.com Review
The past several weeks we have spent some time reviewing Theo:  God's Love from FishFlix.com.

What is FishFlix.com?
FishFlix.com is an online seller of Christian movies.  On the website you will find many categories and sub-categories to fill your home with wholesome video entertainment and education; such as, Apologetics, Biography, Children's Movies, Documentaries, and Music Videos, to name a few.
Who is Theo?
Within the Children's Movies section of FishFlix.com you can find all 5 volumes of the animated series called Theo.  We have been reviewing Theo:  God's Love, the first volume in the series.
Theo is a Godly, grandfatherly man, who lives in a quaint country cottage, which is also inhabited by two mice that listen in on Theo's lessons of Christian faith.
In my opinion, if Cinderella had a Grandfather, Theo would be a perfect fit as he's always so joyful and singing to a bird friend and he even has friend mice.

Theo:  God's Love; Volume 1

The first volume of Theo contains 3 lessons:
  • Saving Faith
  • Loving Obedience
  • Forgiveness
Each lesson has the same general format. 

First, the lesson opens with Theo singing the chorus to an old hymn that correlates to the lesson, such as, "Faith of Our Fathers" for Saving Faith.  While he sings and talks to us he is busy at work tidying, picking apples or some other busy work.  He then greets us (the viewer) directly and talks a bit about the lesson's topic, while his mice friends, Belfry and Luther, get into a bit of mischief.

From there Theo narrates an animated example of the topic that applies to our real life; such as, the old 'faith' that the world was flat, and other examples of false faith in real life.

After discussing a real life example we go back to Theo, who then shows us his Shoebox Bible Theatre.  The Shoebox Bible Theatre is a delightful animated paper puppet show, that tells a bible story correlating to the lesson, such as the story of Abraham for "Saving Faith".

When the Shoebox Bible Theater is over we are brought back to Theo, who concludes his teaching.  Finally, we are taken back to Belfy and Luther continuing with their misadventure.  Having listened in on Theo's teaching, they see the err of their ways and apply it their situation.

Bonus Materials

Included with the DVD is a bonus lesson titled "The Good News".  This is a 5 minute lesson from Theo on what it means to be a Christian and the salvation found in Jesus.

Also included is a Parent's Guide.  In this guide you'll find a 3 week family bible study - 1 week per lesson.  Each week's study includes:
  • Scripture References
  • Discussion Questions
  • Family Activity
  • Summary and a Closing Prayer
  • 6 days of Nightly Devotional
How We Used Theo:  God's Love from FishFlix.com

We watched this DVD as a family, with children ranging in age 3 to age 9.  The kids liked Theo so much they didn't want to watch just one lesson at a time spread over 3 weeks, so we always watched all lessons regardless of where we were at in the bible study.  The animations are all great and I liked that there were different types of animation for each part of the story.

The topics were all great and I do feel that kids did understand some bigger topics with Theo's explanation, like what it means to have faith or what it means to forgive. 

From the Bible Study they enjoyed the activities as the lessons are short, fun and engaging.


FishFlix.com is hosting an awesome giveaway.  All you have to do is join their email list and you will be entered into a drawing.  The prize is 5 movies from their e-store!  You'll have a chance at winning Owlegories 2, The Ultimate Gift, My Son, My Savior, Superbook:  A Great Adventure, and The War Room.

To see other reviews of several Christian movies from FishFlix.com (such as the ones in the giveaway - and more) click the banner below:

FishFlix.com Review

Easter Round-Up

As we approach Easter I wanted to share my favorite resources for tots, preschoolers and early elementary.

A Sense of the Resurrection - from the maker of Truth in the Tinsel.  This is a hands-on way to engage your children in the Truth.

Kids of Integrity:  Easter - a free downloadable PDF with lots of activities.  For ages 3-5 they recommend using the forgiveness lesson

Lapbook Lessons has a great section for Easter, filled with games, crafts and printables.  I most recently printed off the eggs as my daughter kept asking if she could decorate with paper eggs so the "Easter Bunny" can find us.  It's hard to avoid the over commercialization of the bunny, and this is a nice way to tie the eggs back into Truth.

Little Monkey Printables has a cute Easter Preschool Pack that I have used in the past.

Christian Preschool Printables has lots of games and crafts to look at.  We particularly enjoyed the Hosanna printables and the He is Risen! craft.

Veggie Tales - An Easter Carol was always a favorite of mine to use when my oldest was a preschooler.

Egglo Eggs is a favorite of my children.  We reviewed this last year and the kids were so excited to see it all come out of storage this year.
Grapevine Studies - The Resurrection would be an excellent choice for older elementary children.  This is one we've recently reviewed and enjoyed.
What are your favorite Easter resources?

Rainforest Journey {a TOS review}

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

For the past year my eldest has had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of all things orangutans; and as such, learned that they live in a very specific area of a very specific rainforest.  When he read all books our library (kids) section had on the subject he decided to broaden his horizons to all primates, declaring himself a primatologist - he even went as an orangutan for Halloween.

I began to try to guide him in learning more on the habit of orangutans, and of other rainforests, when we learned about Rainforest Journey.  Rainforest Journey is an online life science program, created by EdTechLens, for grades Kindergarten through 5th grade.


EdTechLens is a company that strives to make appealing and accessible content for elementary children.  "Ed" stands for "Education", "Tech" for Technology", and "Lens" (for what I'm assuming) camera lens.  All photos and videos are genuine, on-location, videos of professional quality.  The imagery is just nothing short of stunning.

Rainforest Journey

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

Rainforest Journey is a year long supplemental online science program for kids.  EdTechLens aims to be inclusive for all students and once we got into the program I can certainly see that it truly is for every student.  Whether your student(s) are special needs, behind in reading, doesn't read, has English as a second language, and/or accelerated students, this is an excellent program.

There are 5 Units of Instruction
  • The Big Picture of the Rainforest
  • Adapt or Die!
  • Animals
  • Plants and Fungi
  • Ecosystems
Within each unit are Chapters, which then contain the Lessons.  In total there are 34 lessons.

The content is presented in little amounts so as to not overwhelm any student.  First is always a spectacular photograph (or two) followed by a short passage.

Above is an example of the bottom of Chapter 1, Lesson 1 for Grade 3.  In bold you have a short passage the student can choose to read.  In green is a vocabulary word that, when hovered over, shows the definition.  The first icon, the blue magnifying glass, is then clicked to read more, where you then have the option to click a volume icon to hear a pleasant sounding woman read the passage for you.  My son is an accelerated learner and he always opted to click the icon to hear the passage while he looked at the stunning photography.

When the student is ready he/she moves on to the Enrichment and clicks there to read more.  Here one might find more vocabulary used in a passage, a short audio of the rainforest, a quick video, or a peek into the life of a real scientist in the field.

Each Unit has it's own set of vocabulary, illustrations, hands-on activities and student assessment.  The illustrations can be downloaded into a PDF and printed.  I found these useful to print and put up on the wall next to my students work area so they could see, in illustration, the levels of the rainforest floor or the water cycle or whatever topic they were working on.  The lessons are ended with a printable Lesson Review.

Teacher and student(s) have separate log-ins.  Under the teacher log in you have access to each grade level you have purchased, which shows you:
  • Course Outline:  This gives you a layout of all lessons.  You can remove any you wish, or look over any lesson you wish.
  • Manage ClassManage Class - change your student to open or guided access, change passwords, change the class name, etc.  Manage StudentsClass Overview; View Progress; Quiz Results.
  • Teacher Resources:  here you will find Teaching Guidance, Course Materials (for printing), and Support.  If a student is working on a device not connected to a printer, the teacher can still go in to this section and print off any review sheets needed.
Teachers also have alerts in the upper right corner to draw our attention to any assessments the student has completed that needs grading.  There are 3 parts to the assessment (one assessment per Unit).  Depth of Knowledge, Open Ended Assessment, and Factual.  The first and last are multiple choice and the Open Ended is typed (or written) and to be graded by the teacher.

How We Used the Rainforest Journey

We used this with a 3rd grader and a Kindergartener, working mostly on an iMac, but sometimes on an iPad.  They each have the same 5 Unit Outline.  My 3rd grader had about 3 passages to read, watch, and/or listen to before moving onto the next Lesson or Chapter.  The Kindergartener had 1 passage to work through before printing off her Lesson Review and moving onto the next Lesson or Chapter.

The Lesson Reviews for my 3rd grader were fill in the blank or write an answer type of work.  The Kindergarten level (as expected) was much easier.  She'd sometimes have a fill in the blank worksheet, but with the correct word prompted for her.  Usually the review asked her to make a drawing of a topic she learned.

They both love this program so much that they are constantly calling each other (and me) over.  "Oh!  Come quick you have to this photo/video!"  This was also true for the hand-on activities where they'd each want to be in on the other's work.  For example, for 3rd grade we were playing a game of (plastic) insects hiding in plain sight and this was great fun for the whole family for at least an hour.  In Kindergarten we were helping playdough insects not get to hot or cold and they all played at this for hours.

Final Thoughts

I feel like even thought this is a lengthy review, I still can't convey the awesomeness of this program.  There is a lot of information but that by no means, suggests it is a complicated program.  It is so user-friendly.  The kids just absolutely love it, and the imagery is astounding.  The kids were not overwhelmed even once, whether reading or listening to a passage, viewing a video or writing up a lesson review.  All lessons went over so smoothly and the hands-on learning was a huge hit.

I think this would work with everybody.  Public school, homeschool, special needs family, single kid families, multi-kid families, reluctant readers, excellent readers - just everyone!

Definitely stayed tuned with EdTechLens as they have their 2nd and 3rd programs in develop.  Currently there is an awesome Special Offer that anyone new to EdTechLens should look into.

For more reviews (and peeks into different grade levels) click the banner below:

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

Demme Learning's New Digital Packs {a TOS review}

Demme Learning Math U See Review
My eldest had long struggled in math until 3 years ago when we switched to Demme Learning's Math-U-See; and, finally everything just clicked for him.  At the end of this past January he finished up Alpha and was ready for Beta, almost exactly at the same time that we were given an opportunity to try out the new Demme Learning Digital Packs

Math-U-See is a multi-sensory conceptual math program which covers everything from Primer (beginning) to Pre-Calculus.  It is mastery based lessons, which means your child should know each concept enough to tell it back to you before moving on.

With a typical Math-U-See purchase you would buy, in any level:
  • a teaching kit:  contains the Instruction Manual (also contains answers) and DVD lessons
  • a student kit:  contains student workbook and a test/activity booklet
  • manipulative blocks:  necessary for Primer through Algebra 1; or, Fraction Overlays for Epsilon, and Algebra-Decimal Inserts for Zeta, Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1.
  • optional:  a song CD of skip counting and addition fact.
Demme Learning Digital Pack
With a Digital Pack you are gaining 12 months access to Demme Learning's new on the go math site.  Your access gives you: 
  • all video lessons (in the level you purchase)
  • PDF versions of your purchased level Instruction Manual
  • Digital Manipulatives
  • all test and workbook solutions, in your level
  • additional resources:
    • an MP3 of  Skip Count songs
    • Record Keeping Sheets to download
    • worksheet generator
    • several educational resource links
In short, the Digital Pack contains everything from the Instruction Manual plus the activity sheets, the manipulatives and the Skip Count CD & Book.
What the Digital Pack does not include would be the student workbook and the student test booklet.
What is the same and what is different from the familiar Math-U-See?
Really, nothing is different from our beloved Math-U-See other than the presentation.  The content remains the same. 

Where before I would turn to my spiral bound teacher manual, I can now login and download lesson summaries to read before my student begins a new lesson.  Everything from Lesson 1:  Place Value and Manipulatives to Lesson 30:  Bar Graphs and Line Graphs is available to you online.
With the regular Beta learning pack, we were confined to watch the DVDs in our designated learning spot, which was from my computer in the basement.  Now, with the Digital Pack, we watch the very same lessons presented by Mr. Demme, except now we watch from anywhere really.  (more on that later).
Before my son would work out his lesson problems from the Student Workbook with the manipulative blocks.  He still uses manipulatives to work out a problem, but now instead uses the Digital Manipulatives.  I do have to add that, while I haven't seen it written anywhere on the Demme Learning website, I have an inkling that the blocks are not to be replaced with the digital version but rather the digital is supposed to add a freedom.  The actual blocks are so very beneficial to use in play as well as with lessons.
How we used the Digital Pack:  Beta
My son has worked his way through 6 lessons of Beta using the Digital Pack.  He has done this from his computer, the couch, the living room floor, and once from his bedroom.  I login to my account, select our level, then select his lesson and he then watches a video. 
After a video lesson he works on corresponding lesson problems in his Student Workbook (not included in the Digital Pack), as many or as little as he needs throughout the week.  Usually he completes one lesson in one week.  Most times he needed to watch the video just once on one day and work out problems the rest of the days.  We still used our Digital Pack for him to have access to the Digital Manipulatives while he was away from our school area or his sister was using the Manipulative Blocks with her Primer lessons.

What we thought:

We have loved Math-U-See from day 1, and we love the Digital Pack from Demme Learning just the same, as it is no different (just more accessible). 

One day of our review period sticks out more than any others because on this particular day we were having a very loud and distracting lesson.  With a toddler in the house things can get quite hectic.  My eldest was struggling with his lesson problems in the Student Workbook which hasn't happened since before using Math-U-See.  He admitted to me that he hadn't heard his video lesson that well.  I loaded up his lesson on an iPad and sent him off to his room (under guided access so he wouldn't try to distract himself with games) to listen again in blissful quiet.

We will be travelling in the fall and I like the idea of taking Demme Learning along with us, without the bulk of the manual nor fear of losing our blocks.

Connor (9):  "I'm thinking it's pretty cool.  And I kinda like it because you can use the blocks on the computer and iPad.  What I like to do is play a game with the blocks.  I pretend they are criminals and go to jail {meaning he'd put them in the digital trashcan} and I say the number of how much crime they have done and it's actually the number of the answer. 

I like watching from my own computer now or from the iPad."

What is needed to run the Digital Pack?
What you need to be successful with the Digital Pack would be a computer and/or tablet with internet access and the Chrome or Safari browsers.  The Digital Manipulative will not work properly outside of Chrome or Safari.

To see other reviews of the many math levels offered by Demme Learning, click the banner below:
Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review

Another Celebrated Dancing Bear {FIAR}

We just finished our "row" of Another Celebrated Dancing Bear.  While I don't have much in the way of pictures - we did have so much fun with this one.  I liked the story a lot more than I expected too.  It's a sweet story of friendship between two bears, Boris and Max.

To start our week we studied Russia for the first time in our school, located it on a map and talking about things that come from Russia - like The Nutcracker!  We also learned this is where matryoshka dolls come from and conveniently the kids each had gotten Matryoshka Dolls for Christmas. 

We focused on manners for house guests from "My Little Golden Book of Manners" and invited some family over for dinner.

From the FIAR cookbook we had cabbage soup for dinner one night.  Another day we used a recipe from "Eat Your Way Around the World" and made beef stroganoff, being sure to recognize the Russian custom of serving appetizers first. 

For dessert we had Russian Tea Cakes.  Sooo yummy!!  (When I was a kid my mom made these every winter, but we called them snowballs.  I soon as I read the recipe for Russian Tea Cakes from the cookbook I recognized it andknew what a treat we were in for.)

For art we used our Kumon Drawing Book to learn how to draw a bear.

For math (ages 9, 5 and 3) I downloaded several different things.  Word problems, addition, patterning and graphing - all that used counting bears.

I also printed off props from KizClub for Hickory, Dickory, Dock for my youngest.

I would definitely revisit this title again and look forward to doing more when we aren't so burnt and busy with other school things.

Grapevine Studies {a TOS review}

Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
We have been preparing for Easter by studying the resurrection with Grapevine Studies.  We have worked through two studies now and the kids have loved learning with stick figures and the same can be said of our current review of Resurrection: Multi-Level.
About Grapevine Studies
With Grapevine Studies children learn the gospel as they hear, read, draw and review scripture.  The drawings are simple stick figures that help them visualize the passages.  All this is done in as little as 15 minutes a day.
Grapevine Studies are flexible, leaving you much choice in where you'd want to begin or where you'd like to continue.  The studies do not build upon one another, leaving you open to pick and chose your topics.  You could choose topical studies such as Biblical Feasts, Esther, or Ruth.  You could study chronologically starting with the Old Testament.  Additionally, you could chose to study to correlate with the season, like Birth of Jesus for Christmas - or like we have chosen, The Resurrection for the Easter season.
Offered are a wide variety of levels to chose from, ensuring there is something for all of your students.  Choices include:
  • beginner levels, for JK and Kindergarteners
  • traceable for beginners at level 1
  • leveled studies for students in grades 1-8
For more details on how it all works there is a wealth of information, sample lessons, and help on the website as well as in the free downloadable catalog.

click for larger image
All you need for a study session:
  • bible
  • Grapevine Studies teacher manual
  • Grapevine Studies student book
  • colored pencils - eight colors are used to teach:  purple, red, blue, brown, black, yellow, orange, and green
  • bible atlas
  • bible dictionary
  • white board (for the teacher) - we've used a chalkboard successfully as well
  • dry erase markers (or chalk if using a chalkboard)
About The Resurrection Study
Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}
The Resurrection study comes in a spiral bound book or as an eBook, downloadable from the website.  The one we have been using is the digital Multi-Level which is the teacher eBook, student eBook and traceable eBook.
This study takes your children on a walk with Jesus. Starting with the Last Supper, the student(s) draw their way into the garden where Jesus prayed, through the six trials and the crucifixion, ending with the Jesus' resurrection, and finally the witnesses and ascension.
In total there are 11 weeks worth of lessons, if you schedule yourself weekly, or you could choose to study daily making it 40 daily lessons.
Within the Teacher eBook you'll find extra information such as:
  • the Grapevine Mission
  • the Grapevine Teaching Method
  • the Grapevine Statements of Faith
  • Teacher and Student goals
  • suggested scheduling options
  • teaching tips
  • scripted teaching lessons
Each week's lesson starts and ends the same:
  • Timeline and memory verse review
  • Bible stories and stick figuring
  • Lesson review questions
  • Student drawing and memory verse
Within the lessons your student dive deeper into understanding the story by looking up given words in a bible dictionary and labeling locations on a provided map. 
How we used The Resurrection study
We have been stick figuring our way through The Resurrection with two students, ages 5 and 9.  My 5 year old has been using the traceable lessons and the 9 year old uses the student version.  The only difference between the two student books is the added traceable drawings.
As for myself, I have downloaded my teacher eBook onto our iPad so that I can access it wherever we happen to be for a lesson.  I have printed the kids' student eBooks off and filed them into a little folder so they have a way to keep their drawings when we finish.
This is a very somber topic, but such an important topic to understand as Christians.  We are currently finishing up lesson 5 of the 11 lessons and so far we have been so blessed with this stick figure journey.  I love watching my eldest as he learns and begins to understand the depth of the topic. 
Final Thoughts
I really love the flexibility of the lessons.  We started out with daily (4 days a week) lessons which was nice for our life with a busy and loud toddler because the lessons are shorter.  We had to switch to weekly lessons, completing a lesson in 1 or 2 days as our schedules got busier.
My 5 year old loved to be able to trace her stick figures and not feel as if she couldn't keep up with her big brother.  My 9 year old enjoyed the freedom of making his own stick figures unique, adding in extra details such as giving Jesus a beard.
Grapevine Studies are an excellent way to disciple your children in a fun and engaging way whether it be used in home, in a co-op or in a church. 
To see the rest of the crew's reviews on the New Testament and of The Resurrection, click the banner below: 
Birth of John to Jesus' Ministry {Grapevine Studies Review}

Here To Help Learning {a TOS review}

Here to Help Learning Review
When the opportunity to review Flight 1 Paragraph Writing from Here to Help Learning came up, we eagerly jumped on board.  For the past several years my eldest has had a keen interest in creating his own little books.  Taking a blank little bound book, he'd illustrate a story then add little sentences underneath; however, I could never get him to write more than once quick line per picture that he had drawn.  I am truly excited to watch his confidence grow as he works through this program.
Here to Help Learning is an online Christian-based writing program, created by Beth Mora.  This homeschool writing program, intended for grades 1 through 6, helps children to master their paragraph and essay writing skills.  The lessons are presented in a fun flight theme, with enthusiastic Mrs. Mora and her basset hound, Captain Knucklehead. 
Here to Help Learning Review

Paragraph Writing is for kids working at the 1st to 3rd grade level and Essay Writing is for children working at the 4th to 6th grade level.  Each of the two paths (paragraph and essay) have three "Flights" each and a year long.  The flights have 32 lessons - for a total of 6 years worth of instruction your child(ren) could work through.
We have been using the digital (online) version of Flight 1 Paragraph Writing.  Having a digital membership means you have full access to all lessons and resources.  This is especially great news for those with multiple children and co-ops.  However, if you are still in need of a hard copy that is also an option.  Here in Canada, Flight 1 Paragraph Writing can be purchased from Learning House; additionally, Flight 1 Essay Writing can be purchased in hard copy.

Flight 1 Paragraph Writing is the first stepping stone in the 6 years of instruction.  With this class there are six writing projects the kids work on, with the first being "All About Me".
Each of the 32 lesson is completed in just two days per week.  There are 5 parts to each lesson.  Day 1 of instruction is video instruction and games, which takes your child(ren) through the first 4 steps.  Day 2 is for Flying Solo. The steps are as follows:
  1. Pre-Flight Check-in: supplies needed for the lesson
  2. Flight Check-in: memory verse; Flying Solo work is turned in; group time
  3. Take Off: game time; recite writing process; writing warm-ups; check off/color in steps completed
  4. Full Throttle: lesson and discussion
  5. Flying Solo: project work

After clicking on your current lesson, you are taken to a video lesson with Mrs. Mora, her co-op class and her trusty basset hound, Captain Knucklehead.  The lessons are clearly spoken, with a beautiful God-honoring attitude.  Mrs. Mora is very optimistic and always is encouraging the children.  When needed she prompts us to pause the video to play our own games, add to our notebook, or begin an assignment.
The first video lesson (so far) has been the most lengthy, as at that time we were gathering all supplies needed to assemble the Writing Notebook, inserting our worksheets, and getting familiar with the process. 
I have found the lessons in Flight 1 to be both gentle enough to include my Kindergarten "eager writer" and also challenging enough for my 3rd grade "reluctant writer".  Using the included scripted Teacher Guide, found on the website, I was able to successfully help both children through each step.  My reluctant writer has actually written one entire page worth of words in his 7 minute timeframe for each Writing Warm-Up.
My kids truly have enjoyed their time with Here to Help Learning and we will most definitely continue on with our lessons.  My son especially liked reciting the writing process, watching Mrs. Mora instruct her co-op class and Captain Knucklehead at the end.
I would certainly recommend this program for any homeschool family whether you have a large or small family, reluctant or eager writers - all will benefit from Mrs. Mora's wonderful attitude and enthusiasm.   What I loved most is the Christian based aspect of the program.  It always begins by reciting Colossians 3:17 and we are reminded that our words (written and spoken) should always glorify God.  We are currently on our 6th week (or lesson) and my son now recites this verse with Mrs. Mora, from memory.
I'll leave you with my favorite memory from these lessons.  Lesson 3's webbing worksheet was left, unwritten in, as we got busy with chores and meals.  I came back to our school area and found my kinder gal eagerly filled in her webbing all on her own, and I just loved the hilarious results.

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