Saturday, January 31, 2009

All About Homophones -- with Coupons

I wanted to post some information about a new program -- All About Homophones -- which is put out by the same lady who does All About Spelling (I write about that here).  I did purchase this in ebook format yesterday, and didn't want to recommend it until I had actually seen it.  At the bottom of this is a $10 coupon code good only until Monday, but that brings the cost of the ebook down to $18.

The book includes a few things, and you can see samples on the website.  I'll briefly run through the table of contents:

Introduction - pretty basic, one thing I really do like is the brief discussion about regional accents and her "permission" to ignore any homophones in here that are NOT homophones where you live
Graphic Organizers - there are 6-7 different pages to use for the child to create their own definitions, pictures, sentences, or what have you. 
Worksheets - there are roughly 100 worksheets, and she has divided them into grade levels, 1-8.  Grade 1 only has 3, grade 2 only has 6, grades 4-5 have the most (around 20).  I love that they are split into grade levels so that I have a good idea as to what is appropriate. There are also about a dozen crossword puzzles, with notes as to which grade's worksheets they cover.
Card Games - she lists out 6 different card games and then has 12 pages of printable homophone cards, that include the word and a definition (or picture).  That's only about 50 homophones, which does disappoint me, but it does seem that this includes the homophones that are among the most frequently used words
More Teaching Tools - there is some interesting information in here - a book list, some forms for the student to create their own homophone pages, tongue twisters, riddles, and puns
Appendices - answer keys, alphabetical list of homophones in this book, and a mega-list of homophones

My plan for the book?  Keep in mind I have a houseful of people who can't spell (Connor is getting much, MUCH better -- but still)

I am going to sit down with Connor (6th grade) and have him start with the first grade worksheets, and I am going to focus on one worksheet at a time, planning to get through three a week (M, W, F) and making an effort on the off day to incorporate silly stuff to review, and eventually the card games.  When he gets far enough to do a crossword puzzle, I'll make that a Friday activity instead of a new worksheet.  When we get to the grade 4 list, we'll probably slow down to more like 2 a week, and I'll make sure he is really working on the spelling.

By the time we get to the grade 7 list (he'll likely be in grade 7), we will probably slow it down to a worksheet a week, and at that point.  When he finishes the Grade 7 list, assuming he is still in grade 7, I'll set him loose with the mega-list of homophones, and assign him to choose a set each week (that isn't on the 8th grade list) and either use the graphic organizers or the forms from the More Teaching Tools section.  I'll do the same in 8th.

For the younger guys, I plan to go more slowly.  I probably won't even start Thomas yet, just so William (4th grade) gets a chance to work through this ahead of him.  I'm going to have William do two sheets a week for the 1st and 2nd grade words, and definitely work in the card games.  I'll switch to one a week with the 3rd grade list.  We will really go all out having fun with this.

For Thomas, we'll start the list in March, probably.  And he & I will only do a sheet a week through the rest of the school year.  We'll start up again with the 3rd grade list in third grade, probably moving at a list per week pace there too.

I will be trying to find some of the recommended books, and playing with those some.

Overall, I am *thrilled* with this purchase, as it is going to be something I can easily use with all the kids for a lot of years.  I am *very* glad I purchased the ebook and not a hard copy, so that I can print off worksheets for each kiddo as we go.  I really, really like that these are fairly short and easy, and don't have to take up a lot of time.

Note:  All About Spelling has an affiliate program, but I have not joined in that.  While I will use links that do benefit me at times, I plan to always disclose that.  If you choose to follow my link, great.  If not, great.  I just want you to be able to factor in my self-interest when reading my reviews :)  In this case, I don’t benefit directly (indirectly, maybe... AAS makes more money, maybe she can get Level 5 out sooner.  Or her reading program.  I can hope.)
----- Begin Email advertisement ----
Today I have a fun FREE tool for you (the Homophone Machine) to help you teach those tricky words that sound alike but are spelled differently, like flea and flee.
The Homophone Machine is the ultimate tool for getting kids 
excited about words! 
(Yes! We've given homophones their very own website!)
I've also just released my latest book, All About Homophones.
This 240-page book is a great resource for teaching these 
fun-yet-tricky words for 1st through 8th grade. 
To celebrate the new book, we're giving you $10 off! 
Just enter the coupon code "FUN" in the customer code box during checkout. The coupon code is good for one week, now through Monday, February 2, 2009. 
P.S. Feel free to share the coupon code "FUN" with as many people as you'd like! Who else would like to save $10?

Comments on my original blog:

Sue - 
That looks awesome.  There's also a free spelling practice site at

Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 03:05 PM

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sonlight Cores 3 and 4

We used Sonlight’s American history cores starting when my boys were in 4th, 2nd and K.  We did use these over two years, and had so much fun!

Some things we added, and things we considered:

Simply Stated, by Kreative Simplicity.   We started this around when we started with the colonists, usually doing a state per week.  We went mostly in regions, more or less going from east to west.  I did combine some states, and spent longer on a few as well (Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota).  I liked this study, as the book suggestions were fantastic and more of a living books approach, and we could do it fairly fully in roughly 20 minutes a day.

Simply Presidential, also by Kreative Simplicity.  We started this about halfway through Core 3, and did a president per week *instead* of doing a state.  This study was incredible.  

We added a number of the books in the You Wouldn’t Want to... series, checked out from the library.  

We also added additional books in the Once Upon America series.  Though I think Hero Over Here is no longer part of the Core, so it wouldn’t be “additional” anymore.  There are some great ones -- Close to Home, Hard Times, Child Star, Pearl Harbor is Burning...

Things we did not choose to do:

Cantoring the Country.  This looks great, and we enjoyed Galloping the Globe, but I decided not to use it because it was just so involved.  I would have struggled to pare it down to a manageable level.

Trail Guide to US Geography.  We used this for a little while, but it was just too much with the ages of my kids at the start.  Only my oldest could do it independently.  If my daughter reads earlier than my second son, and Richard & Trina are in 2nd and 4th when we start Core 3, I will undoubtedly use Trail Guide then.  And if you use it, the CD is a must :)

I will add to this post as I think more clearly about what we did and didn’t use.

Comments on my original blog:

Johanna - 

Welcome to the blog world, Debra! I always enjoy seeing your posts on the Sonlight e-mail loops because you answer so thoroughly! I have gotten a lot of ideas from you that I am holding onto, since my oldest is still 5!  Feel free to check out my blog ( here.)  I post about homeschool, but also life in general!

Friday, January 23, 2009 - 08:36 AM

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sonlight Core 5-- Things we considered

Okay, so to make this a separate post - here are some things we considered adding to Core 5:
Around the World in 180 Days, put out by Apologia.  Awesome resource.  I think this would have been fantastic to add in.  But, for us, I think it would have worked better if I didn’t have all the little ones.  If all my kids were school-age, I think this would have been great.
Galloping the Globe.  Well, we used GtG once before, and it was great, and I thought we’d use it to help make SL5 work better for the younger group.  What I decided though, in looking the resources over together was that GtG was going to take too much time on my part.  Too much sorting through and trying to figure out things to use.  And I don’t particularly want to focus mainly on the animals, or non-fiction.  
Trail Guide to World Geography.  I really wanted to figure out a way to make this work.  But my older guys are getting plenty of mapping ‘stuff’ with the core, and, well, simply using Eastern Hemisphere Explorer as written seems to accomplish everything I wanted from Trail Guide.
There are a bunch of hands-on things that would probably be fantastic.  With the new law and the number of homeschool businesses looking at closing up shop, I’m not even going to try to list what we considered.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Read Through the Bible in 2009

Okay, so I found a plan that might just keep me on track.  Logos has a Reading Program that pops up on my desktop and reminds me to get my reading done.  This blog entry says more than I can.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Free Kutlas Song

A free Kutless MP3 is being given away at Bible Study Magazine. They are also having a contest to win cool Kutless gear and Logos Bible Software.  Go check it out!

Okay, I’m mostly trying to figure out how to do some of this linking stuff.  BUT, I do get Bible Study Magazine, and I love it.  I highly, highly recommend it.  And if you go download the Kutlas song, it gets you into a drawing to win some cool stuff -- like a subscription to the magazine.  And posting this link gets ME another entry as well.

So, we’ll see if this works :)