Spelling You See~ REVIEW

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/-2015%20CREW/32761c85-b638-435c-a47b-33977171d944_zpsg4f9rmi3.jpgI'm a born talker, never a writer.  I remember loving English in school except one important part of it.....Spelling.  I remember my Teachers telling me that my mind went to fast to move the words from my brain down to my pencil.  I was always fearful of the dreaded Red Pen Marks that generally covered my papers.  Luckily my Kiddos are home with me and don't have to go through the fear and embarrassment.  I was excited to try Ancient Achievements Level F from Spelling You See for the past several weeks.  I was given the set for my Review in exchange.  Spell check, don't fail me now!!!  :)

Ok, first of all this type of Spelling program is one I have never seen before.  And to be honest, if it wasn't for this review I wouldn't have given it a second thought.  I have grown up with a spelling list each week and thought you had to drill one or two of them into your head.  That was just the way you did it.  Wow, what an eye opening review was this.  We were given the Instructor's Handbook ($14) and two Student Workbooks ($30) along with Erasable colored pencils.  In the Instructor's Handbook I found several helpful sections about the philosophy, stages of spelling, and curriculum sequence.  I was more then delighted that it included how to get started, full of many tips for achieving success with the program, a color coded answer key, step by step instructions for each individual lesson, dictation passages, and an activity guide.  

So, let me tell you a little about how we used this program with Kaden.  He is 8 and reads well into high school.  He can even spell pretty darn good, but I noticed he just memorizes and if you ask him to spell a single word all by itself he will struggle.  Don't ask me why or how, but if he sees the word in a regular spelling list over the course of a day or two he will memorize them all.  If I wait a few weeks and ask again or ask during dinner he will stumble.  I wanted him to see spelling differently, to learn why the word is spelled a certain way and to give him more confidence.  

Through doing this I have seen the gaps in his phonics which According to Dr. Holinga, is the 2nd stage in the 5 Developmental Stages of Spelling.
1. Preliterate
2. Phonetic
3. Skill Development
4.  Word Extension
5.  Derivational Constancy

Being a child with Autism we find he has a lot of developmental deficits.  I realize some of Kaden's frustration using the program was maybe the writing portion, especially the dictation.  His motor skills are a little rough most days.  I think I'm going to go back a few books and start there and come back to Ancient Achievements in a year or so.  You can go Here and get some extra information about Placement to make sure you start at the right place with your Kiddo.

Okay, back to how we used the program....we did use it about every other day.  Each lesson begins with a short passage in Lesson A Section 1 along with the Vowel chunks.  Here Kaden would read and then color the vowel chunks in the passage.  That would be about all he could do for the day.  It did tend to be a longer session because searching for the chunks proved to be difficult for him.  That was lesson 1, we are on the 4th lesson now and the improvement is very noticeable. :)  The next day he would normally complete the copy work in Section 2 of lesson A and go over the vowel chunks.  Towards the end of the week he would complete lesson B sections 1 and 2 which were basically a repeat from the previous days.  

Because of his frustration of repetitiveness we would skip most of the C lessons, but we would read and enjoy the Spotlights here that would go in more depth regarding the passage.  He loved the little extras, I caught him reading into the 2nd workbook because he loved reading the interesting passages and Spotlights.  Lessons D and E have your kiddo looking for vowel chunks again, but in D your child needs to write the passage from dictation.  This was hard for him, only because of his motor skills.  But, this lesson encourages the child to ask for help if needed.  Now the final E lesson asks your kiddo to write from dictation completely alone with no help.  It's really cool to see the progression from week to week. 


So, would we recommend Spelling You See?  I think for sure with a child without Special needs and even if your child does have Special needs.  My oldest has dyslexia, I wished this would have been around when he was struggling through spelling.  Now, Mahala is a spelling wiz.  Give her any word and she can figure it out in a snap.  So, this program wouldn't be a good fit for her.  I think this program brings a different approach to learning how to spell by color coding and dictation and just seeing those chunks in the passage that I promise will captivate any audience.  So, yes, it's a great Affordable program that I plan to continue using with Kaden.

Let, me know if you start using it with your kiddos! :)  And don't forget to check out more on Social Media....

Crew Disclaimer
Spelling You See Review


New Blog Journey!!!!

I have been consumed with getting the garden set up and preparing Summer school curriculum for the kiddos.  Not to mention I took the plunge and decided to start a new blog to document our Family's journey with Addiction.  It's not easy and if someone would have told me almost 2 years ago that we would be where we are now I would have punched them.  So, here we are better then we ever have been in our whole marriage and I want to share with people who are where I was almost 2 years ago.  I want to share how we made it through the dark and scary tunnel known as addiction.  It wasn't easy, it's still the hardest thing I have EVER gone through.  But, if I knew then what I know now I would have taken the same path.  Yes, I would have still married him and loved him and prayed for him and then take on this challenge in-order to have this God centered Marriage we have right this moment.  Thank You Jesus!!!!
I'm not hiding anymore, I feel like the Lord has called me to share and to give support where I can.  I have seen first hand God lovingly grip my Husband and pull him through his darkest hours.  He has mended me back together people.  I was literally in pieces and I can walk again.  God needs all the Glory for this Miracle!!!!  This is Short and Sweet....if you know someone struggling with their Marriage with or without addiction pass my new blog on to them.  If you are interested or just curious follow along on our journey too.  Please Pray for us as a Family, pray for my strength as I share some impossible stories and pray for my Husband's Recovery. 
New Blog:

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


ARTistic Pursuits ~ Review


We love Art around here, creating Art is just a way of life.  It was something I did with each of the kids from a young age.  And even now as my oldest is almost 21 he can still be found drawing, painting and doodling.  Several weeks ago I was given the opportunity to Review an Art Curriculum, High School 9-12, Book 1: The Elements of Art and Composition from ARTistic Pursuits.

Now even though we love Art, that doesn't mean it's an easy subject to teach and to do it thoroughly.  I create what I feel and never had any formal training.  But, for my Kiddos I would like for them to learn the basics and beyond.  I want them to learn about art styles and Artists from different eras.  I can do all this with ARTistic Pursuits and not have to spend tons of time gathering supplies, gathering information and organizing a plan.  Instead it's all in this Spiral bound book and is as easy as flipping to the next page.


Colored Glasses ~ Part 2

When I look back now it was all so clear.  I mean it was almost text book material over here.  And with that realization came a dump truck full of self loathing and honestly wondering if I should even be trusted to make a call on when to toss the out dated milk from the fridge.  Everything seemed impossible to deal with, nothing could be trusted and everything was raw. 

Now, almost 17 months later I am ready to share the miracle that we have experienced in our Family.  

 Let, me go on record here 1st by saying I never thought any of those things could possibly happen.  I was ready to walk out the door with my basket of colored glasses.  But, something stopped me.  Actually a feeling stopped me and I know it was the gentle hand of God.  And I'm so very thankful that I chose to stay.  And now I have to get the word out, that there is a way to work through what my marriage has been through.  

My Husband has a Sex Addiction and Our Family is alive and well.  Walk along with me as I share my story.


Orphs of the Woodlands ~ REVIEW

I have a little video game lover that's also an avid reader here at home.  So, to find a program that has the best of both worlds makes me one happy Momma!  Star Toaster was generous and gave my Family the opportunity to try their online educational series, Orphs of the Woodlands in exchange for my Review.  This online program incorporates vocabulary, math, science, thinking skills, problem solving and nutrition all wrapped up in an exciting adventure.  Your child will learn hundreds of lessons through out this program.  The Story is about a squirrel, that your child get's to name, who becomes a caregiver to the orphans in the Woodlands.  He protects and provides for them.  These orphans are called "Orphs".  The squirrel is a special spy that fights off the pesky creatures who are terrorizing the orphaned creatures that live in the forrest.   


New American Cursive: Penmanship Program Workbook 1~Review

Who remembers cursive exercises in school?  I sure do, I remember feeling so grown up and proper when I wrote in cursive.  Every time I wrote even a note to pass in class you could bet it was in cursive.  So, why did I not ever teach my Kiddos?  Skylar went to public school for a few years and in 3rd grade he learned.  Mahala and Kaden though are all mine to mold and shape.  And cursive has not been top of the list.  When I heard that Memoria Press was offering me New American Cursive:  Penmanship Program Workbook 1($22.95 value) in return for my Review I thought this was my chance to cross Cursive off my things to teach list!!!


Colored Glasses ~Part 1

Sometimes we Believe one thing about our life that we suspect is not so, but with handy colored glasses even we can be fooled into thinking what we perceive is actual reality.  I say this because I have lived most of my 39 years that way.  I'm what you would call an expert shape shifter of sorts.  But, it has only come to my attention just recently.  And with that realization comes major responsibility and a tiny bit of relief. Let me tell you all about it, or at least one piece of it.

So, we all know I grew up in Foster Care after my Parents died.  We all know of my physical and sexual abuse.  My life on the streets with my oldest and my struggles with my Health because of Lupus.  Anyone of those things could cause Red Flags with extreme mental breakdowns.  But, what happens when married life creates this safety cocoon and all the bad yucky stuff that happened to you just floats away.  And then your left with the New Normal of suburban life and a huge basket of colored glasses.  

Life is Better, much Better then it was before married life I tell myself.  So, when something happens that stirs a little pain or familiar feeling of past Traumas you can do one of two things.  Leave what feels Comfortable and Safe more then Not or grab your basket of colored glasses.  I'll tell you what I did, I covered my eyes with a new pair of shades.  And what started out as an occasional accessory turned into a daily necessity.  I planned my wardrobe around them and convinced myself that I liked them.....they were my thing, my choice.  Before I knew it I never took them off and my vision was so distorted.  

One day, my colored glasses were slapped right off my face.  And with No warning or Consideration to my well being all the pain and truth that had been hidden from me now trampled me and sucked the life right out of me.  To this very day I can recall everything visually around me at that moment.  I remember the hair clip in my hair, the sound of dinner sizzling in the pan and the look on my children's faces as I fell to my knees in disbelief.  As every past Trauma resurfaced and churned in the depths of my belly it took all I had to confront the Man who was my Protector, Comforter, Soul Mate, Love of My Life, Provider, Daddy to my Sweet Children, My One, My Only, My Other Half, My Adam, My Flesh, My Prince, My Love, My Darling, My Rock, Companion, My Groom, Partner, My Husband.....The Keeper of My Heart.  But, I did and I tossed out all my Colored Glasses!

Taking a Breath......


Living with the Tiger we call Autism

Life with Autism is kind of like living in the house with a wild Tiger.  There are moments where you want to just sit back and enjoy the majestic beauty as it frolics along playing quietly.  You are careful not to disturb the Tiger because if it's taken away too soon from what it's interested in you could be in trouble.  If the Tiger is annoyed or startled you could be in for a loud outburst and thrashing of anger is what will eventually tucker the aggravated tiger out.  You never know what it's thinking, you just have to carefully pay attention to his body language, activity and the way it sounds.  

This is life with Kaden, we have had a good several days, but we know we can never just let our guard down.  We can't just relax completely and forget what truly lurks inside our boy.  He is the sweetest child I have ever known.  He is caring and can be gentle and is so smart.  He hears things and never forgets them, he just adds it to what he already knows.  His mind is brilliant the way he works with numbers and figures things out before the question is even finished.  It is easy to forget the Tiger he has within him.  It's easy to let your guard down and slip into a routine destined for failure.  

With the kids recently coming home last Saturday night from their Missions Trip it changed up the schedule just a little too much.  We allowed a little more video game time for Kaden then normal, less school work and structured time.  We let him stay up longer, get off of his diet and didn't give all the physical stimuli he needs in order to release the energy inside.  So, now I sit here Tuesday morning with the walls shaking from his screams.  As he bounces his body off of the walls, trashes his room and blurts out things Mommas don't want to ever hear her kids say.  I can restrain, I can yell, I can cry, I can do a million things right now, but nothing will stop his behavior.  We have had the therapy, we know what to expect and we know what to do.  We wait, we pray, we stay strong and the storm will pass and he will end up at my feet making little puppy sounds.  I will wait until he touches me, which indicates it's ok for me to touch him.  I will hold him and he will hum and make noises.  Now that we have a service dog, he comes and helps.  He weathers the whole storm usually right beside him unless I'm afraid he may get hurt in the whirlwind of Kaden's meltdown.  After Kaden is limp in my arms or beanbag for several minutes he will normally cry softly and then get up like nothing has happened.  If it was very physical like it was today he will need to sleep it off after several glasses of water.

As I write this sentence he is putting on his essential oils and sipping water.  And now he's grabbing the basket ball to roll and kick up and down the stairs.  It's constant pressure and stimuli that his Body needs.  He needs education and essential oils to engage and sooth him Mentally.  He needs sleep and silence or soothing music to repair and rebuild his Mind.  And of course the Lord and Prayer to calm and fill his Soul.
Everyday is an adventure, just some are more enjoyable then others.  Pray for us all!


Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!) ~ REVIEW

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Have you ever stumbled across an unfamiliar work during a Science lesson or just wonder where a word came from?  I know I have many times, especially since Mahala is knee deep in Marine Biology right now.  We enjoy vocabulary I think, I've never heard a complaint about learning a few new words every day.  We actually have words of the day that I pin up around the house, so the Family is primed and ready to take on new words at any time....or so I thought.  I was asked to give a Review on Greek Morphemes Lessons (It's NOT Greek to Me!) by Ready to Teach.  I was as thrilled as a Monkey on Free bananas Day!  The Kiddos...not so much.  I was a bit on the sad end of the feelings scale.  But, decided they were going to do it and like it and if not then I would deal with that when the time came to publish this Review.   Keep reading......