Tuesday, July 28, 2015

With Lee in Virginia {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

If you're a regular reader around here, you'll recognize the name Heirloom Audio Productions, and you probably won't be surprised that I was thrilled to review another of their titles.  This time, it's With Lee in Virginia!  We received not only the 2-disc CD set, but a beautiful study guide and some other bonuses as well.



What's Included?
There are different purchasing options, but the basic package ($29.97 + s/h) includes the 2-disc set and three bonuses.  You'll receive a high quality digital study guide, a printable poster with a quote by Robert E. Lee, and an MP3 download of the official soundtrack scored by John Campbell.


The Story
With Lee in Virginia is the third in a line of high quality audio dramas, based on the historical fiction work of G.A. Henty:  With Lee in Virginia, A Story of the Civil War.  Obviously this is a war story, but it is also a story of courage, of honor, and of duty.

As I expected, the story immediately comes to life the moment it starts.  Sound effects, music, talented voice actors (Sean Astin, Kirk Cameron, Chris Anthony, Kelsey Landsdowne and Jim Weiss are some names you might recognize) make this a truly amazing listening experience.  We're introduced to a boy on the brink of adulthood, fifteen year old Vincent Wingfield.  He was from a well-established plantation in Virginia, and the year is 1861.  Vincent finds himself on an "adventure" when he joins the Confederate army.  He battles alongside many famous Confederate generals, with Robert E. Lee of course being one of them.  Lee is an inspirational leader, and Vincent learns he has to take a stand for what really matters.  Just like the other stories we've experienced from Henty, the main characters experiences physical and moral struggles.  He's injured, he's captured, he's betrayed, and yet he still finds his way to displaying virtuous character traits.  It's hard to tell you too much about the plot of a book without giving too much away, but what you should know is that Heirloom Audio Productions puts you right in the setting of the Henty books.  You don't just listen to a war story.  You're transported right there to the battlefield to experience those battles, to feel their pain, to experience their emotions.


The Study Guide
One thing that really sets Heirloom Audio Productions apart from regular audio books (aside from their fabulous quality) is that the stories come with an excellent Study Guide and Discussion Starter.  The With Lee in Virginia study guide is 30 pages of questions and assignments.  This study guide includes short biographical sketches of Henty, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, a map of famous cities and battlefields referenced in the story, suggestions for additional readings on Lee, and two Bible Studies--one on Duty and one on Loving Your Enemy.  The bulk of the study guide, though, is where each track has its own set of material.  For each track, there are three sections called Listening Well, Thinking Further and Defining Words.  These are questions with varying degree of difficulty and vocabulary words.  These are the "assignments" so to speak, and the heart of the study guide.



How We Used It
I would suggest listening to the whole production all the way through (because you won't want to stop!) and then listening to one track at a time to answer the accompanying study guide questions.  My kids are younger, so typically we would use a study guide like this together, with me picking out questions that would help illustrate they key points I wanted to focus on.  This time was a little different though.  I didn't use the study guide with the kids at all, because I had to listen to almost the entire story alone.  I loved this story just as much as the others, but the kids had a different reaction.

Early in the story, there are a couple of violent episodes against slaves.  My 8 year old became very distraught and finally asked me to turn it off.  He is not usually this sensitive, so I don't know if it was because it was a woman, or if it was the crying baby, or if it was the repeated acts of violence against humans, but he was adamant that he was not listening to it anymore.  (Then of course the 5 year old followed suit.)  I tried to turn it on a couple more times, after some serious discussions, but it just wasn't the right time.  I could tell it hurt his heart to know that people were treated that way.  It opened up a whole line of dialogue, though, about human nature, slavery, abolitionists, how we treat others, and ultimately what our religious and moral beliefs say about loving others.  Although they weren't ready to listen to this story, I did choose to follow up with a study on The Underground Railroad, to show a different side of the hearts that others had during that part in history, so it was still a good learning experience.  With Lee in Virginia will be waiting until they are ready.


Would I Recommend It?
Yes, I would still recommend With Lee in Virginia.  If you're studying the Civil War or Virginia history, if you're interested in wars in general, if you just like good audio dramas . . . this is a fantastic resource.  In fact, I would recommend all of the Heirloom Audio Productions so far.  I would caution you preview them first if your children are sensitive, due to the sometimes graphic scenes, but they are great for homeschooling, and great for families.

With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review


Previous reviews of Heirloom Audio Productions that we have done include Under Drake's Flag and In Freedom's Cause.


To find out more, check out With Lee in Virginia and Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook, as well as Google Google +, and Twitter.


With Lee in Virginia Audio Drama Review
Crew Disclaimer

©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, July 27, 2015

Homeschooling Together: Family Curriculum Choices 2015-2016

Even though my children are each a few years apart in age and grade level, I still like for us to do some of our homeschooling together.  They obviously have individual needs for some subjects, but there are still so many subjects we can do as a family.  It simplifies things for me, and brings us together more.  The beauty of homeschooling.



This post may contain affiliate links.


CORE - Unit Studies
I will primarily be using Five in a Row for our Science, Social Studies and Language Arts, as well as applied Mathematics and Art.  Nothing beats a living book.  I have tentatively planned out Five in a Row for the year, but I know that outline is subject to change.  I'll adjust it for each child and their specific needs, but it's so much fun, so diverse, so rich . . . and I'm looking forward to another fabulous year using this curriculum.  The unit studies will be for the boys, though Eleanor is welcome to join in whenever she wants.





HISTORY
I want to do some chronological world history, so I will be using the audio version of Story of the World.  I contemplated doing the full curriculum, but I don't want it to detract from the richness of FIAR at home.  Chronological history programs doesn't always touch on so many of the other areas of "social studies" that are important.  We spend a lot of time in the car during the school year going to classes and co-op and such, so we are always looking for new audio books.  I felt like the audio book would be a good fit for our current needs, and should they want more, I can always get additional readings or the activity guide.





SCIENCE
I will be keeping Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers on our shelf for easy access this year.  It can easily compliment FIAR with more fun ideas, or it can be used independently for a hands-on science unit.  (Read my review.)





Nature Study
We do a lot of informal nature study all year long, and I try to tie it into our unit studies whenever possible.  I would like to do more nature journaling, but we just haven't found our way there yet.



FINE ARTS

Music
I am in love with Maestro Classics (after being introduced through a review) and have been slowly adding to our collection.  I intend to own them all.  They serve a wide age range, and they are entertaining and educational.  I'm creating a composer study around my latest purchase (Swan Lake-Tchaikovsky) and if that goes well I'll continue to do composer studies around their titles.

    



ARTistic Pursuits
We have all three Elementary K-3 Books from previous reviews.  We are working through them slowly.  Very slowly.  I'm not as consistent as I would like to be with art instruction, but I'm hoping to create a schedule (shocker, I know!) to make sure these "extras" aren't treated as extras, and get the time they deserve.  Eleanor doesn't usually do the lessons, but she uses the same materials, or inexpensive versions of them anyway, at the table with us for exposure.

ARTistic Pursuits Review


Art for Kids Hub
I don't have to schedule Art for Kids.  The boys pull up this website frequently on their own when they want to spend time drawing.  It is a FANTASTIC resource, and I love that they can do it indepdently.






Foreign Languages
Since the kids will be doing Spanish and Sign Language at co-op, I want to supplement at home.  We've always dabbled in Spanish, but I hope to stick with it this year.

American Sign Language
We will start with Signing Time for a fun introduction, particularly for the Preschooler and 1st grader.  By the time my 3rd grader takes the class, we will hopefully have found something more appropriate for him.

Spanish
I'll be reviewing Middlebury Interactive Languages Spanish for 3rd-5th graders with Elliott, and I might have just begged fort his review so he could work through it during the same semester he's taking Spanish at co-op.

SALSA Spanish is a completely FREE online program for kids through third grade, which is my age range.  I'll be using it during the second semester and focusing on Emory when he's taking Spanish at co-op.  We'll definitely use the videos, and I'd like to use some of the PDF activities as well.





Classes
I'm not sure what we'll get into in terms of sports this year, but they'll be in AWANA again, as well as co-op.  Our co-op is hoping to offer weekly clubs as well, but our participation will depend on what is offered.  This is a tentative schedule, and the boys will actually switch classes second semester, so there will definitely be a wide range of exposure!
Eleanor - Preschool
Emory - Sign Language, Geography, Music/Dance, and PE
Elliott - Art, Science, PE and Spanish




So now you know what we'll be doing as a family.  You can also check out our 3rd Grade and 1st Grade Curriculum Choices and our Preschool Plans.

 





©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com


Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Day is Waiting {a children's book review}


The Day is Waiting

If you're a parent, grandparent, early childhood educator, caregiver for young children, or just fan of children's literature, you're probably familiar with Don Freeman.  An author and illustrator, he is well known for his children's books, particularly the beloved Corduroy.

After Freeman's passing, his wife had many of his illustrations and wanted to continue to share them with the world.  The Day is Waiting is a compilation of some of these whimsical illustrations.  The simple rhyming text is provided by family friend Linda Zuckerman.  The book takes us on a journey from our home, around the world and back again.  It places the reader as the central character of the book, and asks us what we see, where we would go, and what we would do.  What is our adventure?  This charming little book is a tour of the possibilities that are out there, the fun and delight we can find in the world around us.

The short text (just a few words per page) make it the perfect length for preschoolers, but it could be enjoyed by beginning readers too.  There's nothing magnificent about the "story line" of the book.  It's a simple, yet charming book for young children.  It's about inspiring imagination, curiosity and wonder.  Exactly what preschoolers need.




I review for BookLook Bloggers





©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Five in a Row Plans for 2015-2016


I've mentioned a few times that we love Five in a Row.  It's flexible, offers quality literature selections, and the kids enjoy it and are learning so much from it.

This year will be a little different though.  We will continue to use Five in a Row as the core of our family studies, but I'll also be adding an introduction to chronological history.  That will be part of our Family Curriculum Choices.  Of course the kids will have their own math, reading and language arts as well, but I've shared more about that in their individual curriculum posts.


This post contains affiliate links.  

This year I will have the following:

Elliott ~ 3rd Grade
Emory ~ 1st Grade
Eleanor ~ Preschool
Eloise ~ Baby Loves

In addition to Five in a Row volumes 1-3, I will likely tie in some Before Five in a Row titles for Eleanor.  I also have the Bible/Character Supplement and the Cookbook.


Do not let the age recommendation or the use of some "simpler" picture books fool you.  This program is rich and diverse when you really explore it as intended, and I actually believe it is very appropriate for middle-upper elementary ages when additional resources are used to teach students how to explore and research on their own.  

So yes, I have the following resources available to enhance our studies when appropriate.

Children's World Atlas
Children Just Like Me: A Unique Celebration of Children Around the World
Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton
Don't Know Much About the 50 States by Kenneth C. Davis
My First Book of Animals {a great animal encyclopedia-type reference}
Draw Write Now by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer
Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Bostford Comstock
The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents)
We Choose Virtues
Five in a Row Fold n' Learns
Homeschool Share




I've made a tentative outline for our rows for the upcoming school year, based on the books we haven't rowed and already own.  It comes out to approximately 2 rows per month, which is a good pace, in case we want to follow rabbit trails or add in a non-FIAR unit.  I placed some titles strategically around seasons, holidays, festivals or other events that would add some fun to our studies.  The rest were plugged into empty spots.  Again, this is only a tentative outline.  Who knows how it will actually turn out!


June/July
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter (in process now)

August
Three Names by Patricia MacLachlan
The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack

September
The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl
Daniel's Duck by Clyde Robert Bulla

October
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant

November
Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

December
Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk
{We will transition into seasonal studies with a tie-in to Russia, Tchaikovsky and The Nutcracker.}

January
Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty

February
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
St Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting (not FIAR)

March
Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift

April
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf 

May
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Lentil by Robert McCloskey



I'll be sharing more about the rest of our family subjects and the kids' individual subjects in the days to come, so stay tuned!




©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Expanders from SimplyFun (Schoolhouse Crew Review)

It's no secret that we like to play board games around here.  I have talked about the value of games, and how I think almost any game can be utilized for educational purposes, even if that is not the primary intent of the game.  Naturally I was intrigued when I saw that SimplyFun would be offering games for the Crew to review.  We were very happy to be chosen to review the board game Expanders.

Review for Expanders from SimplyFun


What is it?
SimplyFun is a young, award-winning company who strives to help families connect and learn through PLAY!  I was hooked.  I believe wholeheartedly in learning through play, and I'm sure I've made that clear around here.

Expanders is a board game that helps players practice different math and logic skills.  In particular, the company specifically lists reverse addition, spatial reasoning and critical thinking.  The objective of the game is to use all of your tokens first, which you do by finding connecting numbers that add up to a specific sum.  You want to fill empty spaces and block your opponent in the process, to keep them from using up their tokens first.

The game is intended for 1-4 players, and includes the following:

~1 mainframe
~6 double-sided circuit boards
~2 circuit board fillers
~4 sets of tokens (32 of each color)
~Expander token storage bag
~Rules booklet


Review for Expanders from SimplyFun



How We Used It
I requested this game with Elliott (8) in mind.  This kid loves board games, he loves math, and Expanders looked like a great way to do some summer fun-schooling.  During the summer we keep a lighter schedule.  We do not use a math curriculum during the summer months, but instead use games and other FUN methods to review and practice different skills.  This game was perfect for our goals!

Playing the game is pretty straightforward.  I read the directions a couple of times through and looked at the examples so I could explain the rules.  Then we got to it!

There are very specific rules for the first few turns that players take when the game starts, but then we had more freedom on the types of moves we were allowed to make as the game progressed.  Essentially our goal for most turns was to choose a number and "expand" across the board by covering connecting numbers that add up to that first number.  That's the quickest way to use your tokens, and the end-goal is to be the first player to use all your tokens, or to have the least number of tokens when everyone is out of moves.

For instance, in the picture below, the orange 8 was covered and the two connecting 4's were covered as part of that move, using three tokens total.  You can look past simple number bonds and connect as many addends as possible to reach a sum though, using more of your tokens.

Review for Expanders from SimplyFun


What Did We Think?
The rules are fairly straightforward, and game play is quick and easy.  I like that the game board can be configured in many different ways.  The double-sided circuit boards are actually two different levels (one side has smaller numbers for easier game play, the opposite side has larger numbers), and depending on the number of players, you'll use between 4-6 circuit boards.  This means that your playing options can be changed regularly.


Would I Recommend This Game?
Yes!  It's fun and educational!  The variations in the game board means that it won't be identical, and with different players and different game layouts, your strategy will have to change.  It is recommended for ages 7 and up, but really as soon as children understand the properties of addition, they can begin to play.  It can be used for family game night or as part of homeschooling.  The single-player instructions means it could even  be used for independent "work" during our homeschool.  I could see it being used in co-ops or even classrooms as during small-group game time.  It's a versatile game with a great purpose, so yes, I definitely recommend it!

The crew reviewed Expanders and a card game called Shape Whiz (ages 10+) so be sure to check out more reviews and find out more about SimplyFun!

Website:  www.simplyfun.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyfun 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/simplyfun 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/simplyfun/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/simplyfun/


Simply Fun Review

Crew Disclaimer


©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.moms-heart.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Homeschool Plan of Instruction

The state I live in is generally considered middle-of-the-road in terms of homeschooling laws, but one requirement is that we are to outline a plan of instruction.  I use a standard format when submitting paperwork to the county throughout the year.

Homeschool Plan of Instruction


For my own records though, I have also typed up a simple Plan of Instruction for our portfolios.  It's not a curriculum list; that is not required by state law (and may change throughout the year anyway) but I'll be sharing curriculum choices on the blog soon anyway.  This is actually more of an overview of the type of content that each subject will include.  It's basically a way for me to have on hand what I said I have created, and a way for me to keep in mind my general academic goals for the year.

It's broken down by the five subjects that our state requires progress in, and the "other" is basically for myself.  Since the boys work together frequently some of their subjects are the same.  Reading, language arts and math are where their plans and instructional content will deviate.


First Grade Plan of Instruction

Emory is in first grade and will receive instruction that is commiserate with his age, grade, maturity and skill level.  I will implement a variety of curriculum, supplements, websites, games, books, manipulatives, hands-on activities and real life experiences to create a dynamic and multi-sensory learning environment.

Reading
Emory will work on phonics, sight words and other foundational skills to build his reading fluency and comprehension.  I will also read books, poetry, fables and other genres aloud for a diverse exposure to quality literature.

Language Arts 
Emory will grow his communication skills and understanding of the English language through penmanship (print), vocabulary, informational and creative writing, and refining his speaking skills and listening comprehension.

Math 
Emory will continue to work on his math skills:  counting, addition, subtraction, writing numerals, place value, skip counting, mental math, word problems, two and three-dimensional shapes, basic fractions, comparisons, measurements, time, money, etc

Science
Emory will explore a diverse array of topics that may include, but is not limited to the life, physical, earth and space sciences, as well as technology and engineering.  He will also use informational texts and scientific tools to explore, observe and collect data.

Social Studies
Emory will be exposed to and develop an appropriate understanding of various content that includes, but is not limited to: history, geography, culture, family, community, economics and citizenship.

Other
Emory will also receive instruction and exposure to other subjects (Art, Music, Foreign Language, etc.) to create a rich learning environment, and to provide him with a basic understanding of cultural influences on society.  He will also participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities that allow him to receive instruction from different teachers, to develop social skills with his peers and to participate in a variety of classes, activities and sports.




Third Grade Plan of Instruction

Elliott is in the third grade and will receive instruction that is commiserate with his age, grade, maturity and skill level.  I will use a variety of curriculum, supplements, websites, games, books, manipulatives, hands-on activities and real life experiences to create a dynamic and multi-sensory learning environment.

Reading
Elliott will continue to refine his reading fluency and build reading comprehension by reading a variety of assigned titles, which are to be determined. I will also read books, poetry, fables and other genres aloud for a diverse exposure to quality literature.


Language Arts
Elliott will grow his communication skills and understanding of the English language through penmanship (print and cursive), spelling, grammar, vocabulary, informational and creative writing, and refining his speaking skills and listening comprehension.


Mathematics
Elliott will continue to develop his mathematical skills:  addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, place value, time, money, measurements, two and three-dimensional shapes, fractions, etc

Science
Elliott will explore a diverse array of topics that may include, but is not limited to the life, physical, earth and space sciences, as well as technology and engineering. He will also read informational texts and use science tools to explore, observe and collect data.  Elliott will also explore electronics and technology as part of his science curriculum.


Social Studies
Elliott will be exposed to and develop an age/grade-level appropriate understanding of various content that includes, but is not limited to: history, geography, culture, family, community, economics and citizenship.


Other
Elliott will also receive instruction and exposure to other subjects (Art, Music, Foreign Language, etc.) to create a rich learning environment, and to help him develop an understanding of the influences culture has on society.   He will also participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities that allow him to receive instruction from different teachers, to develop social skills with his peers and to participate in a variety of classes, activities and sports.





As you can see, this is exactly what it says it is.  A general plan of instruction that outlines the basic academic goals we have for the school year.  Of course we will hopefully develop a deeper relationship with the material than a piece of paper can hope to outline, but this fulfills the requirements of a plan of instruction.  I'll be sharing actual curriculum posts soon!






©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

FIAR: The Tale of Peter Rabbit

I try to line our rows up with seasonal activities whenever possible.  It's summer, so we're very relaxed around here, but we did have a little fun with The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.  It ended up being a very short, sweet and conversational row.  Well, mostly conversational, except for the gardening part.  That has definitely been a hands-on experience.  I don't have a lot of pictures, but I still want to document our schooling, so I'm posting anyway.


This post contains affiliate links.


Language Arts
Descriptive Writing
There was a lesson in the manual, but I also gave the boys the If I Were A . . .  Gardener writing prompt.  Emory enjoys narrating to me, so he likes these prompts.





Literature Connections
We have a boxed collection of Beatrix Potter tales, so we read several of those. There is also this We Both Read book, The Tales of Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny, for parent and child to read together.


Social Studies
Geography-England
We learned a little about Beatrix Potter, her life as a naturalist, and England.  The boys colored the flag, marked England on a map of Europe, and added their own story disk to their passports before Elliott placed our story disk on our large map.




Math
Graphing
I kept this very simple.  I found this Garden Graphing worksheet from Education.com that related to the lesson in the manual, so we did it.


Science
Plants, Gardening, Nature Study
This was our focus for the row.  I gleaned information from the manual, but this was definitely the hands-on aspect of our row.  We planted flowers and herbs.  We've pulled weeds and examined roots.  We have tended our garden.  We observed seeds, tasted new vegetables and of course did the traditional carrot top activity.  Elliott may be my "STEM kid" but Emory is my nature-lover.  He has loved every second of the science in this row!


It was a light row compared to others we've done, but the kids liked it.  It was natural and enjoyable and I was delighted when they asked "What book is next?" even though it's supposedly summer break around here!





©2011-2015 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, July 6, 2015

CursiveLogic {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

I was thrilled when my oldest son asked me if I would teach him how to write in cursive.  Happy is my heart whenever my children ask to learn something before I even introduce it!  It's important to me that my kids learn to read and write in cursive for other reasons too.  So that they can read historical documents, preserve the memories of ancestors through their letters and diaries, and also for the neurological development that it provides.  Since writing cursive is a proper stepping stone to fluently reading cursive, I was happy to review CursiveLogic.  I was intrigued by the logical and purposeful approach to teaching cursive that they apply to their program.  The entire curriculum is contained to the CursiveLogic Workbook, and you might choose to use colored pencils, at your own discretion.  (There are also some free e-books that I'll share with you later!)

CursiveLogic review


What is CursiveLogic?
CursiveLogic was created by Linda Shrewsbury, who was tutoring an older student that wanted to learn to sign his name.  Due to his age, and time constraints, she wanted to find a quick and effective way to teach the cursive alphabet, instead of teaching it through the traditional method of one letter at a time.  CursiveLogic was born out of that need.

The workbook is coil-bound across the top, which makes it effective for left and right-handed students.  It includes an introduction for the parent/teacher/tutor, four primary lessons, seven sections to help further the learning and practice, and a few dry erase pages at the end.  The dry erase pages are a nice touch, as we often use a personal-sized dry erase board in our various lessons anyway.

How Does it Work?
CursiveLogic focuses on teaching the student how to recognize the basic shapes of the alphabet.  It groups the letters by shape, and each letter group is assigned a specific color, "group name" and catch phrase to help the student master the alphabet.  Each group contains a string of 6-7 letters, based on their shape, and they are all taught together.

For example, students are first taught the Orange Ovals.  They are taught how to examine the letters for the oval shape, and given a simple rhythmic chant to say as they are learning to write each letter.  I let Elliott use erasable colored pencils during his lessons, so of course we used Orange for that specific lesson.  Each of the next three lessons cover the three remaining color-letter groups, to introduce the full lowercase alphabet.

CursiveLogic review


You can read more about How it Works, the letter groups, and how CursiveLogic uses visual and verbal cues to reinforce the shape patterns.

Since all of the letters in one group are taught together, students can immediately see how cursive letters connect, and can write real words quickly.  Even though one lesson covers several letters together, the lessons are broken down into shorter sections to make it manageable for all skill levels.  I've found that doing one subsection a day right now is great for us.  It's slow and the lessons could definitely be done at a faster pace, especially by older or remedial students, but it's effective for summer practice and review.

As you progress into the next lessons, the student should really begin to look at the structure of the alphabet, to see how letters begin and end, to see the shapes within the letters, and be able to visually connect the different groups, translating all that on to paper.

Lowercase letters are the only letters taught in the four main lessons, which makes sense, as they are the primary letters we read and write.  The seven sections that follow the lessons help cover capital letters and provide further practice.

CursiveLogic review



Final Thoughts
Elliott is a little unsure about this program.  He likes learning cursive, but I think because I switched him from his more traditional approach, it threw him off at first.  He's a creature of habit.  He doesn't like repeating the catch-phrase for the letter groups, but he's not an auditory learner, so that might be a factor.  He also told me he prefers learning one letter at a time, so there's not much I can do to tweak the program in that regard, but I will say he is very thorough and pays close attention while doing the lessons in this workbook.  For a typical boy who doesn't like writing, that's always a good sign!  I know he likes the visual reinforcement of the colors.

I like the premise of this program, and I love that it is multi-sensory.  I really do think it is logical, and I like how it encourages students to really visualize the alphabet.  Seeing only four basic shapes means it should be less intimidating overall to learn the cursive alphabet, since it is no longer about recalling the specific strokes for each and every letter.  I'm not sure how it would work for a beginner since we didn't start from scratch, and Elliott was "in the middle" of learning cursive, but I absolutely think this would be great for older students (or adults) who are out of practice and need a refresher course in cursive handwriting.


Freebies!
CursiveLogic has created a few e-books with free practice pages that compliment their curriculum, and they are graciously allowing us to share them with our readers.  These are high quality pages that you can use after their actual lessons in order to further practice.


More Information
Workbook Price:  $29.00
Age Range: 7 years to adult
Website:  www.cursivelogic.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/ilovecursive
Twitter:  twitter.com/CursiveLogic
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/cursivelogic/

You can find more information on their intuitive cursive program by checking out their website and social media provided above, and of course by reading more crew reviews!


CursiveLogic Review

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