The Nutcracker ~ Stories in Music {Crew Review}

Until a few years ago, whenever I heard the word Nutcracker or heard the music, especially the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, I would think of a certain department store Christmas commercial. I had never seen the ballet performed or truly listened to the music. That changed when we were gifted tickets to a professional performance of the Nutcracker Ballet. It was beautiful and it the story and the music have become a favorite of Supergirl. Because she loves the Nutcracker I knew we would want to add The Nutcracker from the Stories in Music collection to our small collection of CDs from Maestro Classics.

Maestro Classics Review ~ The Nutcracker

About the Story and the Music

The Nutcracker ballet is based on a fairytale by E.T.A Hoffman. He was a German writer, composer, and painter. He was born in 1776 in a city in Prussia which is now a city a in Russia!  He died in 1822 in Berlin, Germany.

The composer, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, wrote many famous ballets such as Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty in addition to the Christmas favorite, The Nutcracker.

Although this only about an hour long it does contain music from every section of section of the ballet.  Yes, it does have the dance of the sugar plum fairy!

Jim Weiss wrote the script. I liked how he explained not only ballet terms but the German words as well so he doesn’t just call it the Grandfather’s dance but uses the German word for Grandfather. 

Listening and Enjoying this Story in Music

Maestro Classics ~ Stories in Music a review of the Nutcracker by Tess

On the back cover it it says ages 5+ families. I whole heartedly agree! My whole family enjoyed listening to this CD which is subtitled on the cover as "A Classic with Orchestra & Narration."  When my husband heard it for the first time, he had to walk over to the cover to check it out. "I thought I recognized his voice," he exclaimed when he saw Jim Weiss's name as the narrator. 

There were two reasons I wanted to review The Nutcracker: we loved the ballet and we love the storytelling of Jim Weiss. Turtlegirl is not as fond of classical music and really doesn’t care for the music of the ballet, but she loves the story and she enjoys Jim Weiss so even she found listening to Jim Weiss telling the story fun and enjoyable.

Boobear, my music loving, music major, college girl was of course thrilled to add to our collection as she loves Tchaikovsky. Jim Weiss telling the story is just icing on the cake.

Supergirl fell in love with the Nutcracker as a ballet when we saw it a few years ago so she was super excited when I told her we were going to review this CD. She’s been listening to it nearly every day. If we’re not listening to it as a family, she’s begging to listen to it alone.

A fairytale set to music and narratored by great storyteller ~ what's not to love~ #hsreviews at Circling Through This Life

I asked her to share her thoughts about this beloved story and this what she had to say:

I like the beginning. The girl has the nutcracker toy and then it broke and then the guy fixed it and the mice came in and they grew and the nutcracker grew.  The Mouse King fights the Nutcracker with a sword. The Mouse King died the other mice bury him. I like the birdcage.

I like the music because the Nutcracker is fun.

I like the end.  She fell asleep and then she woke up and she was like 'Was that just a dream?'

Taking it to a Deeper Level

We choose to simply enjoy listening to the story, but for those who want to dig deeper and turn this into a more educational experience will be thrilled to know that there are curriculum guides available for the Maestro Classic “Stories in Music” series including the Nutcracker. For the Nutcracker, subjects include Ballet, History & Geography, Science, Language Arts, Art, Music, and Math.  

The Details:

  • The Vendor:   Maestro Classics
  • The Product: The Nutcracker
  • The Narrator: Jim Weiss, who also wrote the script
  • The Producer: Allen Wonneberger
  • The Conductor: Stephen Simon, who also did the adaptation
  • The Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Composer: Tchaikovsky
  • Format: We received the Physical CD; a digital mp3 download is also available.
  • Age Range: 5+ Families
  • Price:  $16.98 for the CD, $9.98 for the MP3 Digital Download
Maestro Classics Review ~ The Nutcracker    This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews. 

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Four Reasons Why I Love the Crew

I love the Homeschool Review Crew and since I am now a Crew Leader and we’re accepting applications I decided I wanted to share with you some of the reasons I love the crew.
I love the Crew!

1.  Curriculum!  Being a reviewer for the review crew means I get curriculum in exchange for my honest review. I've had the opportunity to review some amazing products such as Teaching Writing Structure and Style from IEW or the First Grade program with all the manipulatives from Touch Math. I love that I have been able to provide such a rich and varied course of study for my daughters. I’ve found treasures that I never would have thought I needed. 
2.  Improving my writing ~ being a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew gave me the opportunity to improve my writing and my blogging.  I've learning about Keywords and Evergreen posts and developing my own style.
3.  Making friends! ~ One of the requirements of the crew is belonging to the private forum. While we are not required to participate in any of the conversations, participating has enriched my experience with the crew and allowed me to get to know other homeschoolers from a wide range of backgrounds and styles. Many of those crew mates have become friends.
4. SUPPORT.  Yes I shouted that one. Not just an online community of home schoolers for support with homeschooling but with life. We pray for one another. We ask and answer all kinds of questions from “What should I make for dinner” to “which is the best learn to read program you’ve tried.” The Review Crew Forum is more than just a place to get the information we need to write our reviews but a place to give and receive support as fellow home schoolers on this journey of life.
Why I love the Crew!

You know I can’t just leave this without making sure you have a link to the Homeschool Review Crew Blog with the crew requirements and application information.  Want to join me on this adventure? Click on the banner below to fill out the application.



Three Incredible IEW Resources for your Homeschool {Crew Review}

It’s no secret that I love Institute for Excellence in Writing. Through IEW I have gained confidence in my own ability to write and in my ability to teach writing to my daughters. IEW put together a set of resources for members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. They included Teaching with Games Set, Timeline of Classics, and A Word Write Now.  These items are not sold together but IEW gave me all three resources to use and review. 

A Treasture Trove of Resources from Instittute for Excellence in Writing

Teaching with Games Set

Let’s talk about the DVD first. One of the things I love about IEW DVDs is the classical music that plays in the background when you view the menu. Is it wrong to confess that I left the DVD on menu mode for a while when I was home alone just to listen to the music? The DVD contains three discs: 2 DVDs and 1 CD_ROM.  Disc One covers Matching Card Games and “No-Prep” Games.  Disc Two includes Question Games, Math Facts Games, and “Make As You Teach” Games. The appendix is also available on Disc 2.  On Disc three you’ll find the Teaching with Games PDF e-book and bonus material.

Although there is a copy of the e-book version on the CD_Rom, IEW generously included the physical spiral bound book which is sold separately. The DVD references the Teaching with Games book. The e-book and printed book are identical so the page numbers mentioned in the DVD sessions will match either version.

Supergirl plays TIME Bingo just one of the many games in Teaching With Games

All of the games would be appropriate for use in a small classroom or home school co-op. Most of these games would work very well for home school families with 2 or more children in small age ranges, like mine. Several of the games have variations listed. For example, the Number Line Tug of War lists a variation for younger students.  Sum Fun has a list of variations that include choosing different sums and a suggestion for adapting for older children. I adapted Sum Fun for Supergirl and we worked on matching addends of 6. There is a large variety of types of games including trivia, cards and yes, even board games. 

Our variation of SUM Fun ~ Learning how to make 6.

A Word Write Now

I was drooling over this one earlier this year when some of the crew members had the opportunity to review the deluxe set for Teaching Writing Structure and Style with Student Writing Intensive. Turtlegirl found A Word Write Now and began to thumb through it. She asked “Can I use this for my writing?” Um, yes.  Yes you can.  She cam back a little bit later and told me that she found it inspirational. Turtlegirl and I both describe A Word Write Now as being like a thesaurus but better and easier to use.

Unlike a thesaurus this book is not arranged in alphabetical order. No, this soft cover spiral bound treasure is arranged by theme.  On the cover just below the title is a subtitle: A Thematic Thesaurus for Stylized Writing. This tool is divided into four sections:

  • Section A: Character Traits
  • Section B: Descriptive Words
  • Section C: Words for Movement and the Senses
  • Section D: Appendix

Before the sections begin there is an introduction, an overview an d a “Simple Definition of Parts of Speech”  throughout the book are spaces where writers can add more words. One of the things Turtlegirl especially loved about A Word Write Now are the excerpts from Classical Literature and quotes. These quotes and excerpts are indeed inspirational.

This book resides next to my computer when it hasn’t been stolen to be used by one of the girls!

Timeline of Classics

Subtitled Historical Context for the Good and Great books, this teacher and student resource is a must have for any home schooling family that uses a literature based approach to education. In addition to books, and audio books, you'll find movie suggestions as well. As the name implies this is a timeline but it's a timeline of great classic literature arranged in chronological order by historical events and it includes suggestions for all ages from elementary school to high school.

The pages of this spiral bound resource are in landscape format with for columns. The first column on the far left is Description or Time Period. Next you have the title of the book. The third column is the author or in the case of an audio book the narrator. Finally in the last column you have Level. This column will list the recommended ages for the literature selection. E for Elementary, M for Middle School and H for High School.

The literary works are arranged by the time period of the story which may or may not be the same time period they were written.  For example you’ll find Julius Caesar by Shakespeare as a suggestion for the time period 44 BC but Shakespeare wrote at the end of the 16th century.

Supergirl wants to study Egypt and she wants to study the Vikings. I’ve been using this resource to pick out books, especially audio books as well as some movies at the E level that Supergirl will enjoy. I’ve also been going through and marking some of the books my high school students have read so that I can include them in a book list for their academic resumes for college applications.

Planning Supergirl's study of Egypt

Final Thoughts

These three resources for teachers and students are not sold together as a set. I do recommend all three and wish I had these resources years ago when my high schoolers were still in elementary school, but even at the high school level we have already found A Word Write Now to be a treasure. Supergirl is enjoying having games to play for math and as she matures we’ll add some games for science and history from Teaching with Games as well. She’ll benefit more than her sisters from the Timeline of Classics. These are three more incredible resources from IEW that I think every home school family should own. 


IEW Review

This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Random Five on Friday ~ October 23rd

I feel like I haven’t done one of these in a really long time! I’ve been so crazy busy with the Crew and home schooling and well life really.

1. I’ve really been enjoying getting one book a month from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library but I’ve been so crazy that I still haven’t finished the book I checked out in September. According to my Kindle Fire I am about 50% of the way through the book. I’m reading Immortal Plague by Aiden James.  It’s very interesting but even though I am half way through it I still haven’t decided how I feel about it. I think I might have to blog about it when I finish it.

Random 5 October 23rd  at circling Through This Life

2. Speaking of books I also started re-reading the Harry Potter series. Having read through them all once and seen the movies several times it is really different reading them again knowing how the whole thing turns out. I’m still on book one, The Sorcerer's Stone. I’m enjoying all the little things in the book that never made it into the movie. I think my reading goal for 2016 will be to finish the series. Maybe I’ll start the New Year with book three but the way things are looking I’ll be finishing up book one in November and still working through book two when the new year begins.

3. I have only three reviews left to post for the 2015 Crew. You will want to be watching for them because we are loving our stuff from IEW, Maestro Classics, and Critical Thinking, Co.  Supergirl has listened been listening to the Nutcracker almost everyday and begging to play games from the Teaching with Games resource. Tailorbear and I have been having some fun conversations inspired by her work with Practical Critical Thinking.

4. I love fall colors. I also love the crispness in the air when fall arrives. I don’t like the rain. I don’t like the gray but the cooler days that make me think of warm drinks and apples and cinnamon and the pretty colors of the trees interspersed with the evergreens just makes me all happy inside.

5. You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head? Well being an Eastern Orthodox Christian I often get prayers stuck in my head. Many of our prayers are chanted or sung. Sometimes I get parts of the Divine Liturgy running through my head. Those are beautiful moments. But yesterday I had The Great Doxology running through my head when I woke up in the night.  That was fine. It was beautiful. I ended up finding in the prayer book and praying it.  I went back to bed fell asleep and work up with “Smelly Cat” , Phoebe’s song from Friends. Um that was just a bit disconcerting to go from Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world to  It’s not your fault!  Hmm, those really don’t go together.


Three More All Natural Products from Koru Naturals {Crew Review}

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review Koru Naturals. We loved the Emu Oil and the shampoo and conditioner so the girls and I were excited to try Skin Clear Cream, Manuka Honey Propolis Soap, and Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic. Everyone assigned to this review received the cream and the soap. We had a variety to choose from for a third product. It was so hard to decide!!

About Koru Naturals

Koru Naturals ~ natural health and beauty products

The name, Koru, comes from the Maori word for loop. It is the shape of the new unfurling fern frond and symbolizes new life, growth, strength, and peace. Koru Naturals imports products from New Zealand. Koru asks that all of their suppliers to certify that the products are never tested on animals. For more information about the history of Koru Naturals or for more information on the brands they carry visit Koru Naturals.

Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic

Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic:  A Review

This hair tonic will nurture your dry hair, tame frizzy hair and add luster so hair isn’t so dull looking. It’s a blend of oils including Argan Oil which comes from a tree in Northern Africa and the Sandalwood tree from Australia. I’m sharing the ingredient list here so you can see the different oils, including essentials.  Some of the oils are organic.

Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil*, Santalum Spicatum (Australian Sandalwood) Oil,* Helichrysum (Helichrysum) Essential Oil*, Citrus Bergamia (Bergamot) Essential Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Pink Grapefruit) Essential Oil.*organic ingredient

It was really hard to decide which product I wanted to try but I chose the hair tonic because Tailorbear has fairly dry frizzy hair. I thought she would be the one that would use it most. I discovered though that it works really well for Supergirl too! Her hair is not so dry and frizzy as her sister’s but it is dry and can be difficult to manage. I found that using 2 drops of this hair tonic on her hair helps to comb out the snarls that seem to develop every night. I used it like a detangler but it had the added benefit of taming her frizzies! She really likes how it smells too which is awesome because it also has aromatic properties too!

See all the dry flyaways Argan Oil and Sandalwood Hair Tonic can fix that!Argan Oil & Sandalwood Hair Tonic tames the frizzies!

It doesn’t specifically state to use it on dry hair so I tried experimenting with my own hair trying it both on wet hair and dry hair. It definitely works best on dry hair. 2-3 drops works for Supergirl and for me but but Tailorbear needs more like 3-4 drops or even 5 as she has enough thick hair for three humans. This oil really does take dry hair and make it shine.

Manuka Honey Propolis Soap

This is a product that comes from a beehive. I confess I didn’t know what propolis was so I looked it up.  Basically it is bee glue. Bees collect this resinous mixture from botanical sources such as tree buds or sap flows. They use it as a sealant. Manuka honey is produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the the Manuka tree.

This soap lathers up so well. I was amazed how at much it lathered. I think the lathering is my most favorite thing about this soap. It smells so good. Yes it smells like honey, which I like, but it’s not an overwhelming honey smell. It’s like a fresh summer day with a kiss of honey. This isn’t just a nice smelling, lathering soap that you leave out for guests. This is soap to be used regularly. I really feel clean after I use it. It rinses clean too so that I don’t have that soapy film feeling. My skin feels softer and less dry. I’ve loved this soap so much that it lives in my shower and I don’t share it with my daughters!

I wouldn’t share it with the girls but my husband? Well it’s his shower too and he had to give it a try. He was a little worried because in his experience soaps that smell as good this one? They don’t tend to do a very good job of cleaning.  He was very pleasantly surprised to discover that he did get very clean.  Not only did he get clean but he didn’t smell girly.  He just smelled clean. His favorite part about the soap? He used it on his beard and his beard felt soft. This soap gets thumbs up from him, too!

Skin Clear Cream

We also got to review the Skin Clear Cream. On the 20th anniversary of this skin care product, the brand, NZ Fusions Botanicals, who also product the hair tonic we are using, released an advanced formula. This advanced formula is what Koru Naturals offers. The basic ingredients are the still the same: Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil. This new formula adds Kawakawa and Harakeke, two Maori remedies for skin conditions, Burdock Root, a Chinese root used traditionally to skin remedies, thyme, which is more than just a spice. Apparently it also has anti-inflammatory properties and lastly as a natural preservative they added Canadian Aspen Bark.

Skin Clear Creme:  a review!

Turtlegirl used the Skin Clear Cream with the most consistency in our house so I asked her to share her experience:

As the name suggests, this is a cream that you put on your skin. It can help clear up acne. This isn't just a cream for your face. In the morning and evening, I would wash my face and take a pea-sized amount to apply to my face, neck, and chest. Then I would have to ask my sister or my mother to apply another pea-sized amount to my back.  It comes with a little spatula that you use to scoop out the cream. This keeps the cream fresh because you don’t introduce skin oils and bacteria or other stuff into the cream by scooping it out with your fingers. After using the cream, I would rinse off the tiny spatula, so that it would be clean for the next time I used it.

One of the things I love about the cream is how nice it smells. It's also made a huge difference on my back, which is a problem area for me. It took awhile for a difference to appear though, so consistent use every day for a week may be required before you see a change or improvement. I really enjoy using this cream, and the longer I use it, the better my acne problem gets. I also love how this isn't just a cream for your face, like so many acne products out there. So, I recommend this to those with a mild to moderate acne condition who want to try a more natural acne product to help. 

This Skin Clear Cream is not limited to acne although it is ideal for acne-prone skin. I have not used this as consistently as my daughter but I did use this for several days on a rash on Supergirl’s leg. Supergirl says that it was cooling and after a few days the area was much improved.


The Details:

Koru Naturals Review  This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Ch Ch Changes!

Does the title make you think of David Bowie? It should.  If it doesn’t then you need to go to YouTube and find out why it should make you think of David Bowie.

I’ve been trying to find time to write a blog post but my time is in very high demand right now.

What does that have to do with changes?  Everything actually.

Ch Ch Changes for Tess at Circling Through This Life

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I’ve been a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew forever. Well, not forever but for a long time. I started in June 2010 with the start of the Year 3 Voyage.

The Crew was still very young.  Still had lots of kinks to work out.  Still had lots of growing pains to experience and I was an inexperienced review writer. My blog was still fairly new and young and I didn’t know anything about blogging or writing reviews.

I like to think that I’ve come a long way and that my writing, reviews, and blog have come a long way since then.  Here were are in October of 2015 and the crew is winding down its 8th Crew year.  Yes, one of those “years” was a shortened “year” as the crew transitioned from a June-May year to a January through Mid- November Year.  I’m finishing up my 6th crew Year.   SIX.  That’s all four of Boobear’s High School years plus two college years.  For Tailorbear that’s two years of upper elementary, two years of junior high and her first two years of high school.

The crew is not just a huge part of my home school; it’s a huge part of my life. I have made friends with people I would never have met. Online friendships that began outside of the crew have deepened and grown.  I’ve laughed with my crew friends.  Cried with them.  Mourned with them and mourned for them.

But things are changing. Seasons change. life moves on. Children grow up and home school bins filled with amazing curriculum begin to overflow. It’s time to let go.  It’s time to move on.

When I have finished up my last few reviews, I’m stepping down from regularly writing curriculum reviews. It’s been a good run and I’m forever grateful for all the great products that I have reviewed.

But I just can’t give up the crew. I can’t.  Remember, the crew is a huge part of my life.

Well it’s growing to be an even bigger part of my life come November 1st.  I may be stepping down from being a reviewer but I’m stepping up into a Crew Leader position.

I am so excited that I’ll still be able to be a part of the crew.  That I’ll be able to participate in the Crew forum and still get to hear about ~ and sometimes see ~ the great products that are out there for home schoolers.  I’ll still be blogging and I might still write a review here and there but it might not be an official review written in exchange for a product, it might be a blog post sharing about my experience with a product I love and use in my homeschool.

Just as the seasons flow from spring to summer to fall, so life is full of seasons and I am excited about this new season for me with Schoolhouse Review Crew. 

And by the way, if you are interested in being part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we’re now taking applications for the 2016 Crew Year.  Come join me as I begin this new season!


Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom {Crew Review}

Some programs are amazing and wonderful but you discover them at the wrong time. Sometimes you get a second a chance.  This is not the first time I’ve reviewed Reading Kingdom. I loved it then, and Supergirl adored it, but I simply did not continue our membership after it ended. Supergirl would ask for “the owl” and be disappointed when I told her that we did not have that program anymore.  When it came up for review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I didn’t plan to put high interest on it. That ship had sailed right?  Wrong.  Supergirl overheard me discussing it and she begged for the program. I re-read my past reviews and I knew I had to ask to review Reading Kingdom Online again.

 Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom!

Reading Kingdom is not just a learn to read program. Dr. Blank identified six essential skills for learning to read and integrated them into her program. The six skills are sequencing, writing, sounds, meaning, grammar, and comprehension. When I reviewed this program in 2012, I explained in my review in more detail about the Reading Kingdom approach.

The program begins with a placement test to determine where the student should begin. The first placement surveys a students readiness with sequences skills and knowledge of the keyboard. Success with Seeing Sequences survey and Letter Land Survey takes the student to the placement test for part 2. This skills survey determines which of the six levels is the appropriate level for the student.

I fully expected Supergirl to test into at least Level 2 of Reading and Writing Part 2 so I was very disappointed to see that the program placed her into the very beginning with Seeing Sequences and Letter Land which is Level 1 of Reading and Writing Part 1. But while watching her, I realized she did need the review of Letter Land to find the right keys on the keyboard. I could have had her retake the skills survey test but I knew she was benefitting from the review. She moved quickly through that level by completing one to two sessions each day.

Because this was review for her, she did move lightning quick though both parts of Part 1. She did not take the second placement test but started with Level 1 book 1. Again this was review for her and she moved briskly through the first two books.

Books from Level 1 ~ Reading Kingdom

Wait. I haven’t told you how it’s laid out! Reading and Writing Part 2 is divided into 5 levels. Each level is divided into 6 books and each book is divided into lessons based on the words needed to read that book.

5 Levels of Reading and Writing ~ Reading Kingdom

There are two types of lessons that Supergirl has encountered. In one approach the student sees a picture and is instructed “here are some bugs. If you can spell bugs type it here. Click here when you are finished.”  The program flashes the cursor at the spot where the student types and flashes the star to indicate where to click when finished. If the student successfully types bugs in the allotted time, the student is given another word to try. If the student is unsuccessful the program will walk the student through a variety of fun activities that teach how to read and write that word. The word is not taught in isolation. It is taught in the context of sentences. Each lesson builds on the previous lessons.

The second type of lesson teaches words that other programs might introduce as sight words. For Supergirl these words have been a, the, some, here, and more. One of the activities in this approach involves scanning the text which reinforces the sequencing of reading from left to right and being able to see those words. She must scan each line and click on the target word.

The program also teaches grammar and very early in Level 1 students learn to capitalize the first word of a sentence and to end a sentence with a period.

At the end of a session the owl appears and gives students the option of reviewing, ~ “read a book again” ~ completing another session, or exiting.  The review is one of my favorite parts. Students can choose up to three activities. Every other day I have Supergirl click the red arrow and together we choose words that she needs extra practice with. Reading Kingdom recommends using the Online Program at least 4 days per week. It is better to do 1 session on 4 different days than to do four sessions in one day once a week.

Supergirl loves learning to read with Reading Kingdom

Although Supergirl lost ground because I did not continue the program, she has matured enough and is progressing fast enough that she is sufficiently challenged. When we reviewed this in the past, she lacked sufficient fine motor skills for printing. She also spelled words by using the sounds not letters. Now she can print words and spell using letter names. How does this relate to Reading Kingdom? She loves to grab a marker and practice her words on the white board.  “Writing the k is hard but I did it. I can spell talk but when the owl asked me the first time, I spelled taco instead of talk.”  Her reading is improving but this time I am noticing huge leaps in her ability to spell. She begs to do Reading Kingdom everyday and proudly tells her father each new word she learns. In my experience with using Reading Kingdom multiple times with a developmentally delayed daughter I would disagree with the assessment that you can begin at age 4.  I’m finding the program to be much more beneficial now that she has had time to mature and gain a bit more developmentally. I think 1st and 2nd grade is a much better age for starting.

Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom!

The Details:

  • The Vendor:  Reading Kingdom
  • The Product: Reading Kingdom Online
  • The Author: Dr. Marion Blank
  • Format: Online Subscription
  • Age Range: As soon as children are ready, around age 4 they can begin.  Reading Kingdom will bring readers to a third grade reading and writing level. Older children and struggling readers will be placed at the appropriate level based on their skill set. 
  • Also Available: ASD Reading (Autism Spectrum Disorder Reading)
  • For Further Reading: The Reading Remedy ~ Note reviewers received this free as a PDF file. Click the link and scroll to the bottom for more information and buying options. Check out the other goodies while you are there!
  • NOTE: The website is full of great information giving background on the research, explaining how and why it works, how to get started and so much more. If this program interests you I recommend setting some time aside, grabbing your favorite beverage and starting with these pages:


Learn to Read with Reading Kingdom!

 This Graphic contains the FTC Regulations statement for Reviews.

All information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

You can read my other Schoolhouse Review Crew Reviews to find more great products.


Random Five on Friday ~ October 2nd Edition

Yes, it’s still Friday!  Let’s just jump in shall we!

1. I am so excited! It’s time to start thinking about the 2016 Schoolhouse Review Crew. Today, the Crew put out a teaser. If you’ve been reading my blog and wanted to know how you could get such fabulous stuff to review you’ll want to check out this post that tells you what you need to know about joining the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Look for an announcement next week about the application process!

2. I have a thing for minions. My favorite app game on my Kindle Fire is Despicable Me: Minion Rush. So my husband had to bring home these:

Minion Twinkies!

3. It was a beautiful clear night on Sunday so we were able to see the moon and the lunar eclipse.

Supermoon Solar Eclipse

4. We did actually get to harvest one small but very cute green bell pepper and one ugly and smaller pepper. We got one small spaghetti squash. A handful of tomatoes and some onions too.  Oh and carrots. The garden just wasn’t doing well this year and I blame the heat and drought.

A tiny fall harvest

5. We enjoyed homemade pizza again this week thanks to Tailorbear! She’s developing her own style and took her father’s recipe to a new level. We enjoyed Bacon Cheeseburger pizzas this time.