As we approach the half-way point of the school-year, and as I have wrapped up my stint with the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I thought I’d go back and let you know which products made the daily cut, the ones we are still using on a daily basis.
I must say that I loved many of the products we reviewed, but we all know that there is just so much time during a school day and not all of our ambitions and intentions get checked off the lesson plan. So, in utmost honesty, I’m disclosing which ones we continue to use.
Institute for Excellence in Writing’s Primary Art of Language
This program is a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. It involves a lot from the teacher, and as well as a lot from the student. With that said, I’m no longer using the reading portion of the program. We are back to A Beka, slowly taking our time through the last of K4 and long vowels.
I’ve also stopped using the writing portion with Middlest, though I will continue with it in the future. I felt that there really wasn’t enough practice for her, especially with capital letters, that she could do independently (as in, without me dictating each letter). I’m using some leftover pages from the A Beka K5 manuscript writing book that I used with Oldest.
However, I am still using the writing program with my Oldest, and loving it! We are also keeping up with our Class Journal; it’s been a great tool for teaching writing as well as reinforcing spelling and grammar principles.
This is a surprise for me actually, even though it is a fun program. Middlest can work through the reading portion of this program on her own; occasionally I’ll sit with her and go through the math. But this, really, is my opportunity to keep her engaged and learning while I work with her brother. And she loves purchasing the animals or playing the arcade games with the tokens she has earned.
I also have to put a plug in for their customer service. Middlest had worked very hard to earn 5000 tokens to purchase a dragon, but then she had mistakenly selected the Sasquatch instead. Oh my goodness! The tears we had that day, and understandably so—5,000 tokens is a lot for a four year old. I emailed the CS just to see if perhaps there was something that could be done on their end, an exchange or a refund of tokens, etc. Within a day of my emailing them, they had removed the Sasquatch and replaced it with her dragon. Needless to say, she was overjoyed when she noticed! And I was very thankful that they took the time for such an insignificant issue.
I must say, this is probably the greatest surprise of all to me. Honestly, when I first received this product, I didn’t know how much we’d use it or even if we’d like it. Once I started using it with the kids, we fell in love and to this day it is an absolute favorite with all three of the kids, even Littlest brightens up when he hears his favorite tunes. It’s a fun rainy day, grumpy day, “let’s wiggle and dance together” activity.
We haven’t been able to use this product as consistently as I would have liked. (Some of my great ambitions this school year have not come to fruition, but that’s another post for another day.) However, this particular product is the single most-asked-for activity. My kids still love it, and I still love to have them exercising. And I have every intention of making this a more regular part of our routine (though most of my intentions lately haven’t gotten much further than just that).
Dayspring’s Pilgrim Story
My son loved this, even though a lot of it was meant for a much older student. He loved the interactive elements of the power point, the maps, and the “draw-and-caption” assignments that I gave to him. We finished it up right before Thanksgiving, skipping a few of the less relevant lessons to be able to pull that off. It was a fun introduction to the history of our celebration and was perfect for notebooking.
And that’s it folks! Our list of top 5 review products, the ones that made the cut for what actually fits into our day.