Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW): Fix It! Grammar Review

Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree

Fix It! Grammar {Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Reviews}

Years ago at our local Homeschool Conference, I had the chance to hear Andrew Pudewa from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) speak. He instantly won me over, as he had worked along side Glenn Doman at the IAHP. When I saw The Homeschool Review Crew had teamed up with Fix It! Grammar, a product from the IEW, I started to look into the program.

My First Thoughts

This was not the first time I had heard about Fix It! Grammar. I knew my good friend and her son were using Fix It! Grammar, so I called her to find out if she thought we should apply. As a former teacher, turned homeschool mom, I highly respect her opinion. She had nothing to say but good things. So we signed up and selected Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Teacher’s Manual Book 1]and Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree [Student Book 1],

We choice the first book in the series, as each book builds on itself. If your student is missing a few skills from Book 1 and tries to do Book 2 first, they may get frustrated. They could be missing the foundation needed to complete Book 2.

Last Minute Student Swap

I intended on using this program with my almost 14 year old son. However when my almost 13 year old step daughter saw the books sitting on the table, she really wanted to do it.

The purchase of these books entitles its owners to a free download of the Fix It! Student eBook. I could allow her to do the program, and still print out copies for my other two children when I am ready to work through it with them. (Note: These downloads are only to be used with your immediate family or classroom)

Since my oldest son is a reluctant writer, he would likely need more help and individual focus. I want to start this program fresh with him this summer, when there is no deadlines or pressure to create a blog perfect experience. My stepdaughter, who is a natural writer could tell me her honest opinion and compare it to grammar instruction she has received in the past.

How Does the Program Work?


Fix It! Grammar, is a 33 week program, if done 4 days a week. It only requires a 15 minute a day commitment. If you are using this program with an older student, lessons can be doubled up and completed at a quicker pace.

Each week your student is presented with a new concept in the “Learn It”section of the lesson.

Then each day your student is given an assignment in the “FIX IT”section of the lesson. They work through a new sentence of the story.

It is their job to solve the puzzle:

  • by correcting the mistakes,
  • marking the passages with abbreviations for the new concepts they have learned,
  • defining the vocabulary words,
  • then the student will write the corrected sentence neatly into a notebook.

At the end of the 33 weeks, the notebook will contain the whole story from beginning to end. Your student will have corrected an entire story!

What Is the Benefit in Teaching Grammar This Way?

The IEW claims students learn better when things are being taught in context. By working thought and correcting a story, they are learning where all these rules applied in real life. The repetition helps ensure mastery, and editing skills transfer into better writing skills.

What Did We Think of the Program?

One area in my school career I feel I did not get enough instruction in was grammar. As a homeschool mom, I’m learning right along side my kids. I don’t want my child to have to look up what a noun or verb is, or when to use there/their or they’re when their kids ask for help with homework.

My step daughter, who is already a strong writer, quickly started having ah-ha moments as she worked through the first few weeks of the program. If I had let her, she would have blown through several weeks of the program in one sitting.

Perfect for Independent Learners!

My step daughter is very self motivated and prefers to learn independently. The student book provided her with plenty of clear detailed instructions. Only once or twice did she have to ask to help clarify a new concept.

I think for reluctant writers, like my oldest son, the short lessons will keep them from getting discouraged. With only one sentence a day to work on, it will not be overwhelming. I can really see how only 15 mins a day with Fix It! Grammar accomplishes more, then pages of worksheets focusing on only one grammar skill.

Our Future Plans for Fix It! Grammar…

My stepdaughter Chloe will continue to work through the student book over the next few months. Come this summer, we will be downloading and printing out two more copies of the Student book. One will be used with my eldest son Wesley, to help prepare him for high school in the fall. The other copy will be put away for us to pull out in a few years to use with Zakari when the time comes.

Want To Read What Other Families Thought of Fix It! Grammar?

Then click the banner below! It will lead you to another post all about Fix It! Grammar. At the bottom you will find a Linky with links to 60+ other reviews written by homeschool families.

Fix It! Grammar {Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) Reviews}
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Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew: Our Review

Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew {Rhythm & Writing Reviews}

Hunting for a New Penmanship Curriculum

Last month my son finished the printing workbook he was working on, but the issue was he was not ready to move onto the next level. I was in the market to try something new when the Homeschool Review Crew teamed up with Rhythm & Writing to review their product Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew.

Within spending a few minutes on their website, I realized that this workbook was going to be a fit for my son. So in my head I was going to get this in front of Zakari. I prayed I would get selected to review it, but planned on purchasing it even if I did not get selected. Thankfully our family was picked.

What We Received

I was sent a physical copy of the workbooks as well as a transparency sheet. The transparency sheet is meant to be paper-clipped to the work pages so the child can practice letters before actually taking a pencil to the page.

We also received lifetime subscription to access instructional video. These videos are designed to help kids learn the proper way of writing each letter. Each video presents a catchy tune to help a child remember the proper way to write a few letters.

Why Practicing Proper Handwriting is so Important?

I have watched first hand with my eldest child what happens when proper letter formations are not engraved in a child. Old habits are hard to break and they also slow the child’s writing down.

When I was homeschooling my eldest son, I was constantly over his shoulders, making sure that he was forming his letters correctly. Then when he went off to public school, he started writing letters his own way. But the teachers sadly did not have the time like I did to correct his form.

After witnessing this I decided to make sure that this was a priority for Zakari. I wanted to make sure he practiced his letters so much that the proper formation became like tying his shoes. He could do it without thinking.

This became even more important for Zakari, as he has fine motor skill issues. He has to practice even more then the average child.

How We Used “Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew”

The Pre-Assessment:

At the very beginning of the workbook, Zakari was required to take a Pre-Assessment. This assessment is available to anyone thinking about using the program through their website. You can request a copy HERE.

Video & Story Time

At the beginning of each section or episode there is a story and a video. Zakari and I first sit down and watch the video. The ones we have watch to date have been little catchy rap songs. They include a rhyme about how each letter in the episode should be formed.

Then we go to his desk and read the story together. Below you can see an example of the story for the letters V,v,W and w.


Work Pages:

Next we move on to the work pages. This is were the transparency sheet would come in handy for some kiddos. You could paperclip it to the work page and have the child practice with dry erase markers or crayons.

However for us we decided to skip this step and jump right into our hard copy. Zakari’s occupational therapist wants him to feel the pencil to paper. Sometimes dry erase markers are just a lot slipperier. So kiddos with fine motor skills don’t feel the natural resistance of the pencil on the paper.

Post-Assessment

At the end of the whole workbook, your child will complete a Post-Assessment page. I’m excited to compare the Pre-Assessment to the Post, and see the difference. I’m sure it is very motivating to a student to see the progress they have made over the term of the program.

What Did We Think Of The “Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew” Program

Overall Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew has been a great addition to our homeschool day. We plan to continue working through the program.

I love the green, yellow and red line method the workbook uses. The same colors used on a traffic light. When forming the capital letters, the child starts on the green line, slows down on the yellow and comes to a stop on the red. Its a wonderful visual clue.

Another small thing I love is the book is spiral bound. Usually with other workbooks I cannot get them to lay flat enough to make it easier for Zakari to write. In some cases I either a)rip out pages one at a time to use, or b) cut the book and pay to have it spiral bound. Because this book is already spiral bound, it lays perfectly on our desk.

Dream Makers Youth Foundation:

As a mom to two special needs kiddos, it makes me so happy to hear 20% of each Rhythm & Writing purchase will be donated to the Dream Makers Youth Foundation.

Dream Makers Youth Foundation (DMYF) is a non-profit organization that provides community-based educational, recreational, and therapeutic services to children with special needs throughout Metropolitan Atlanta.

Want to Read What Other Homeschool Families Think About “Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew”?

If you want to read more reviews about how other homeschooling families have used this product? Click the link to find out more about “Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew”. You should be able to read about 30+ other experience with the program!

Rhythm & Writing with the Get Write Crew {Rhythm & Writing Reviews}
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Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program: Our Review

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}

Helping my children build a solid foundation in reading has always been one of my main priorities in our homeschool journey. Students who can read well, can learning anything they want to from books. In order to create life long learners, we must create excellent readers.

My family was given the opportunity to review Memoria Press‘s classical phonics program: Classical Phonics with the First Start Reading Program. As soon as I saw this program, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I even went to the extent of having it shipped to the Border Postal Service I use, and picked it up on my holiday down to the states. The review was only open to people living in the USA, but by using the postal service, my family was able to participate. I’m so glad we were going to be in the USA that week, because this program is stellar.

Classical Phonics

“Classical Phonics is a deceptively simple little book our teachers and families use constantly in both kindergarten and first grade. It consists of phonetically arranged word lists for students to practice their growing phonics skills. In a word list there are no context clues, so the learner must rely on his mastery of letter sounds.”

Classical phonics is a nice, spiral bound book (have I mentioned before how much I love spiral bond books?) that Zakari and I have been using to practice his phonics. The words are well organized, the font is clear, and there is very little distraction on each page.

It is based on the 1913 book, “Word Mastery” by Florence Akin. However Memoria Press has revamped and updated the book to make it more user friendly.

First Start Reading Program

First Start Reading is more then just a phonics program. On top of the phonics it teaches kids how to properly hold their pencils and form each letter. This is so important because when a child has poor letter formation, it slows down the speed they can write at. Also without proper letter formation their work often looks sloppy. It is so hard to break the bad habit of writing letters wrong, so it is best to avoid it and start teaching those good habits early on.

The program is designed to be used for a full year if the student is in kindergarten or for half a year for first graders. We received levels A thru D, with the teachers guide, as well as Book E with the teachers guide. Since Zakari is a 1st grader, we are doing a few lessons per day. Each workbook is to be used only with ONE STUDENT. If you are doing this program with more then one student you will need to purchase extra workbooks. However of course only one teachers guide is needed.

While Zakari is able to read all the words and sentences in book A, I chose not to skip it. The reason for this is level A does not just teach the M, A, S, N, R, F, T, H, th, S, I, C, and P sound. It also works on penmanship, periods, when to use a or an, ‘s, exclamation points, plural nouns and inflected verb endings. These are all things that were overlooked in other phonics programs we have used in the past.

What Do We Think About the Program?

When I opened up this package I just fell in love with it. The guides, workbooks and book are well made.

Inside the workbooks are very clearly printed and very little distractions if any on the pages. Zakari clearly knows what is expected out of him on each page.


I love the teachers guide makes it easy for me to teach each lesson. Each lesson has a simple script that I can follow, so I know that I am doing it right.

Want to see what the Teacher’s Guides and Workbooks Look Like Inside?

Before we started the program I did a flip through video. You can view it below. See if Classical Phonics and First Start Reading would be a fit for your student.

Want to Read More About Many Memoria Press Products from Other Homeschool Parents?

The Homeschool Review Crew & Memoria Press have teamed up to review several of Memoria Press’s products. Click the link below to see other reviews. You will find 60+ homeschool families who have used different products to teach phonics, poetry and Latin!

Phonics, Poetry & Latin {Memoria Press Reviews}
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Doman Parent in Hiding

Originally Published in 2010. But I felt it needed a major update.

You might be a Doman parent…

Do you ever find yourself hiding what your doing with your child from family or friends? Making sure all the word cards and flashcards of the digestive system are put away before company comes over. The pediatrician laughs at you when you tell him your two year old know his letters and sounds of the letters, and knows how to read hundreds of words.

What is a Doman Parent Anyhow?

A Doman Parents or Professional Mother is a parent who follows the teaching of Glenn Doman. His amazing discoveries in child development have helped many special needs children:

  • learn to run when their parents were told they never would even stand on their own two feet.
  • learn to read and do math when other specialist told their parents they were “mentally retarded” and were “unteachable”.
  • Lose their labels such as Autism, ADHD and Developmental Delay
  • most importantly, grow to their full potential

Glenn Doman also created programs for well children. Teaching them how to read, do math, play violin, and speak second and third languages.

So Why is This Not Main Stream?

After I discovered the Doman Method of teaching my son, I made a grave mistake. I assumed everyone would want to do the same thing with their children too!

I soon realized this was not the case. It was actually the complete opposite reaction. People thought it was a terrible idea!

They told me I was Hothousing my son.

I was told he would be bored in school if I taught him to read early.

The best was during some testing I was told my youngest son was “Just Hyperlexic”. The way he said it was like it was a problem. Way to take a strength my son has and turn it into a bad thing!

I’ll never forget when I told my oldest son Wesley’s speech therapist he loved letters and words, and was learning to read. She told me I should be discouraging him from focusing on the words and to get his attention on the pictures. Thankfully Zakari’s Preschool team used his love of letters and words as a tool to help him develop in other areas. But from what I have seen and heard this is rare.

Why Many Doman Parents Go Into Hiding

I was having coffee with a fellow Doman parent. After realizing that other parents did not support what we were doing with our children, we started jokingly calling ourselves the crazies. We didn’t actually think we were crazy, but we knew that was what the rest of the world thought.

While I tend to still be on the more outspoken side when it came to using the Doman Method, my friend went into “hiding”. She knew what she was doing was right for her son, but other families made her feel self-conscious and misguided. She was pushed into the “Doman Parent Closet” so to speak. Which is a crying shame, because she has raised an AMAZING, bright and well adjusted young man. The blood, sweat and tears she poured into him from a young age has paid off a thousand folds. She has so much to share with other parents, but I know to this day she still shies away from sharing her earlier methods.

Its just too bad we are the minority. I wish this style of parenting could be more main stream. Every baby, toddler and child deserves the chance to be exposed to all this wonderful knowledge. Babies don’t want to play with rattles. They want to absorb every bit of information they can get their hands on.

What about children from families with two working parents? Single Parents?

Even as a working or single parent, it is possible. You just have to make sure you are being honest and factual. This method is not drilling math facts in your child head. It is not sitting at a desk working for hours on end. It takes minutes a day of your child’s time. In the end its a great way to spend your time with your children. Nothing makes a child feel more confident with themselves then a parent that believes they are worth it.

All you need are a few minutes during meal time, before bed, waiting to see a doctor, etc. There are so many minutes in a day being wasted. If parents spent a few of those minutes teaching their child, both parent and child would benefit.

Benefits of Teaching Your Children Before They Are Old Enough To Go To School

  • Strengthen the bond between parent and child
  • Build your child’s self confidence
  • School proof your child
  • Establish a love of learning

I can only image where my sons would be right now if I hadn’t been sitting alone at work one day while everyone was away at conference. while I was there “manning the phones.”

Well you can image one can only stare at a phone and wait for it to ring for so long. So I was looking how to educate small children and I fell upon Glenn Doman’s site. You can read more about this in my post How Glenn Doman Changed How I Parent.

Dealing With Rejection

While I in Philadelphia learning about the Doman Method, one lecture lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders.

Glenn Doman talked about how he would waste so much time trying to convince skeptics that this method worked. He soon realized that those who wanted to understand you will. The others would never understand. It was best for him to focus his time and energy on the people who wanted it, instead of trying to force the non believers into agreeing with him.

So he decided he would tell people once. If they didn’t agree, he saved his breath and didn’t try to convince them. This saved his valuable and limited time for those who truly wanted the information. Those were the people he could help.

So I tell them once…

I now realize people are different places in their lives. Everyone is programmed differently. Some parents are fighters, others are comfortable with the way things are. Sadly some parents are just not motivated enough to put the energy and time into research and created a program for their child. They are not willing to experience a tiny bit of discomfort for a large pay out. For example tweaking a child’s diet, or setting boundaries with a child.

YOU CANNOT SAVE THOSE PEOPLE… They are generally not bad people. Lead by example. One day they may come to realize your not so crazy.

My Most Recent Story of Rejections

A good friend of mine, who I have shared what we are doing with Zakari called me one day. She wanted me to share with her friend about what we were doing.

Over the years I have been more then willing to share our experiences with people. But as we have become more and more involved with the Doman Method, homeschooling, biomedical testing, supplements, etc, my time has become more limited.

I had a bad feeling this was not going to go the way my friend hoped. But reluctantly I decided to have a Facebook Messager Conversation with this woman. I told my friend that it was my work night and I had a lot to focus on but she could set us up the next day.

The next morning my friend opened up a group message and her friend asked me what we did with Zakari. I just dumped it all out as I was not interested in beating around the bush. I gave a summary of diet, supplements, biomedical testing, a tiny bit about programs we run though.

Of course what I expected happened. She thanked me for my time, but didn’t feel what I had said was “for them”.

How I Handled This Differently Then I Did in the Past

Instead of trying to talk her into it, or getting defensive and defending what we were doing, I wished her luck and left the group. I didn’t take it personally. In the past I would have.

My friend called me right away shocked. She apologized profusely. I was in no way upset at my friend. She has a kind heart and wanted to help. I told her that sadly when it comes to the journey of helping a child with disabilities, people are not willing to think outside of the box.

My blood was boiling that this woman did not want to go to all ends of the earth to help her child, but I had to let it go. Not my monkey, not my circus.

Why People Rejects the Doman Method of Teaching Children to Read

There are many reasons why parents don’t believe in teaching their young child to read, such as they:

  • don’t want to put in the effort
  • do not want to fail
  • don’t believe its possible
  • believe its detrimental
  • don’t understand its not hothousing, and that our children still have lots of free time

In the end it is not my job to tell other parents what to do with their children. We each have to sort that out for ourselves. I just share our journey here on my blog. People can take it or leave it. My goal is that if I can help one family by sharing our family’s story, it is time well spent!

Who I Love To Share Our Story With

My favorite people to talk to are the ones who are out seeking the help themselves. The parent’s who are HUNGRY for a solution. They are self motivated parent that wants answers. They are open minded and willing to learn. Of course I don’t expect every parent I cross to do exactly what I do. All of your journey’s are going to be unique. I learn so much for other mom’s that don’t use the Doman Method, or make different lifestyle changes. I think we all have something to offer each other.

How do you handle the skeptics? Do you hide what you do with your kids to just avoid the conversation?

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The Loss Of A Family Pet

Gizmo The Devon Rex

Before I Knew Better…

Back in 2009 I discovered that some people were not allergic to certain breeds of cats. The first one I heard about was the Siberian cat. So as a young naive 24 year old, instead of researching breeders and such, I went to the local pet store.

In my defense, I was ignorant to the horrors of pet shop cats and dogs. Social media was not what it is today. I did not know that respectable breeders DO NOT sell their kittens or pups to pet shops. Today the same store I went to does not sell cats or dogs, they are now a satellite location for the local Humane Society. Times have changed as the public, myself included are more educated about pet ownership.

I want my readers to know that because I am only able to have certain breeds of cats due to allergies, I now find respectable breeders. Our sphynx kittens we adopted in 2017 were from a breeder I knew personally. While I know it is best to adopt, not shop, my situation is slightly different. Without a pure breed Devon Rex or Sphynx, my allergies would flare up and my children would not get to have the joys and responsibilities of pet ownership.

Intro To The Devon Rex Breed

So my husband(who was my boyfriend at the time), his daughter and I went to the pet store to look around. An associate came to see if we needed any help. I told her I was looking for a Siberian cat because I had heard they were Hypoallergenic. She told me that they did not have that breed, but asked if I had ever heard of the Devon Rex? I told her I hadn’t and she went on to tell me that many people with cat allergies are fine with Devon Rex cats. They also had one available.

Meeting Our Forever Cat

I wanted to meet this cat, so she brought us to the meet and greet area. A few minutes later she walked into the area with the cutest little orange tabby kitten. She had a thin coat of curly hair, and the biggest ears I had ever seen. I was in love. As I ran my hands through her fur, I realized she was like no cat I had ever met. She was soft as velvet and I knew she was coming home with me.

While we were filling out the paperwork a man and his son came to see this kitten. They explained to us that they had bought her a week prior. But had to bring her back because his wife’s allergies were too sensitive to tolerate the kitten. They were happy to see she was being adopted.

We brought her home and thankfully she never bothered my allergies at all. She was a part of our family.

Our Alien Gets A Name…

After careful consideration, because of her alien sized ears, we decided to same her Gizmo.


Memories With Gizmo

We have so many great memories with Gizmo the Devon Rex.

I remember the first summer we had Gizmo she joined us when we went to outdoor birthday parties. She also came to the beach with us.

Gizmo on the beach

When Travis and I were first dating, and our big kids were with their other parents, we often entertained friends. After a few drinks we had people crashing at our house to make sure everyone was safe. Gizmo made friends with all of our friends. There was even the time our friend left rum and coke in a short glass and I woke up to a tipsy Gizmo. After that everyone was very careful with their drinks.

You could also not turn your back on Doritos, chicken, and especially bacon. Otherwise it would be gone.

Mexican Kitty

One of my co-workers back when I first got Gizmo, brought her back a sombrero from Mexico.

Every night I would go to bed, I would call her because I knew she would want to lay down with me. But every night she ignored me, so I would lay in bed and just start to get comfortable. Next thing I knew she was scratching at the door wanted to be let in. I do’;t know why she insisted on waiting, but I always got up and let her in.

Last Summer

Last summer Gizmo started to really show that she was aging. A few times in the past she managed to sneak outside. But when we saw her we would just go out and pick her up and bring her in.

However something was different last year. When she get outside she became a different cat. She didn’t recognize us anymore. I tried to pick her up and she lunged at me. That was the first time I was ever scared of Gizmo.

She was gone for 2 days. Then someone spotted her. We hurried to catch her, but she got away from my step daughter and I. The next morning, the people who had spotted her called us. She was back, and my husband was able to catch her.

Picture someone took to post to our lost cat ad when they spotted her.

A few weeks later she escaped again and was gone for 5 days before my husband found her in the backyard and caught her. That day I went the pet store and bought a GPS Tracking device to put on her collar. I was not going through this again. Luckily I never needed to use it for the rest of the summer months. Gizmo never tried to go outside in the winter.

Her Outings Really Aged Her…

Those two outings really aged her. She was never the same cat. Her arthritis really flared up and she started avoiding visitors and the children.

Saying Good-bye…

Sadly last week on March 15, 2019, we had to make a terribly hard decision. That day the children all said their good byes to Gizmo the Devon Rex. After the big kids went to their other parents house, and Zakari’s tutor arrived to babysit him, my husband and I went and spent a bit of time with Gizmo.

One last cuddle before we left.

It was so hard to see her in such a state. Slowly over the 10 months, Gizmo’s health started to fail her. I had to help her walk to her litter box. After we had both said our good-byes, we packed her up to go to her final vet appointment.

Since Gizmo was my first real pet, this was my first real experience with saying good-bye to a family pet. We realized that she was more then a pet, she was a member of the family. This was a new journey to help my children deal with their emotions, when I didn’t know how to deal with my own emotions.

Good-bye Gizmo, until we meet again. I will miss you and your crazy antics. The house is empty without you. I often take the long way home so I can mentally prepare myself that you will not be greeting me at the door.

November 8th, 2008 to March 15th, 2015

Raising Bookworms: What We Read in February 2019

18 chapter books in 28 days. I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with how many books Zakari and I devoured this month. Because February is a short month I did not have high expectations.

What this month looked like:

This month we veered away from many of our go to series and focused on the theme of Valentine’s Day. We tried many new series, and found a few keepers. We also tried a few series that we were not so crazy about. But that is OK! I’d rather try a series and dislike it, then not try and series and miss out on some amazing books. Plus none were that terrible enough for us to stop reading them.

Shaking things up with picture books…

I decided this month to start adding in more picture books to our reading time. I have been so focused on reading all the chapter books physically possible, I feel like we are missing out on some great picture books.

I’ve always felt we shouldn’t rush pass the shorter chapter books, and we have been focusing on reading many of them. Eventually they will become too babyish for Zakari, so I don’t want to push him into books like Harry Potter just yet. We want to enjoy books like Dragon Masters, Magic Treehouse, The Puppy Place, etc.

But then I realize the same argument can apply to picture books too! So while I don’t want to start buying to many more picture books, we have started taking them out from the library. Plus we have a pretty solid collection of picture books we still need to read in our personal library.

I’m trilled to say we read 37 picture books together.

Trying to be a good library patron… Is it possible??

Last month I went to the library and cleared up the fines on my card. Just under $40… Oh guys, I’m a terrible library patron. In the past I get all gung ho, and put TONS of books on hold. Then I forget to pick them up. Then I’m charged $1.25 per books. Or I bring a bag of books in the car to return, and forget about them. Yep then they are past due and I’m charged again.

It gets worse…

I have even tainted my boys library cards. Yes they both have outstanding fines. I’m that terrible mom. But when I went to pay off their fines, I found out about a program that they offer that allows the kids to read of their fines. *cough* Or their mother’s fined on their card.*cough*.

So while they are doing time for their mother’s sake, how can kids reading be a bad thing? Right? For every 15 mins they read in the library they get $2 off their fines. So now we are heading the the library a few times a week to read! Good for their brains and also good for mom’s pocket book!

Check Out What We Read in February!

Without further ado, below you can watch which chapter books Zakari and I read. If you scroll further down you can see the full list of the books mentioned in the video, plus a list of the picture books we read too!

Chapter Books

1)Sea Monster! (The Kingdom of Wrenly Book 3) As we work our way though the series, Zakari is loving the characters. The stories are short and simple. If your looking for a more complex story line these books are not for you. But for younger kids starting off listening to chapter books, or for new independent readers, these books are awesome.

2)What Is the Super Bowl?Who would have thought this book would have been such a big hit for Zakari. I am not a huge football person, so I found it about dull going through all the games of Super Bowl past, but my son was so interested.


3)February Friend (Calendar Mysteries #2) Like I have said time and time again, we are really enjoying both Ron Roy’s series, “A to Z Mysteries” & “Calendar Mysteries”.

4)Super-Secret Valentine (Ready, Freddy! #10) This series was recommended to us by a fellow homeschool mom. Honestly though I didn’t think I was going to care for it. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised! Freddy was a really likable character and I’m excited for us to read more from this series.

5) The Case of the Secret Valentine (Jigsaw Jones Mystery #3) This was a new series this month for us. While we didn’t love it the same way we love Ron Roy Mystery series, we still enjoyed it. I have several of these books from the series so I’m sure we will be reading more of them. From what I can see they do not need to be read in order.

6)Cam Jansen and the Valentine Baby Mystery (Cam Jansen Mysteries #25) Cam Jansen was another series we had been collecting, but had not read yet. Zakari and I both really enjoyed this book. Cam is a very likable character and we both are looking forward to reading more in the series. This series does not need to be read in order.

7)Valentine’s Day from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures #8) Now before you run out and buy this book, be warned in my opinion its not the best. I found it painful to read aloud. However, my son seemed to enjoy it. Personally though I’d say take it out at the library and save your money.

8) Valentine’s Day Disaster (Geronimo Stilton #23) This is the first of the Geronimo Stilton books that Zakari and I have read together. Thanks to his awesome older cousin we have almost the whole collection. There are two in the series about Valentine’s, but this month we were only able to read one of them. If your child is transitioning from picture books to chapter books, this series is perfect. It is super colorful and has pictures on many pages.

9)Who Was Johnny Appleseed? As a Canadian we did not hear much about Johnny Appleseed in public school. We picked up this book after we finished a picture book on Johnny Appleseed for Bookshark. You can read more about what I think below in the Picture Book section of this book.

10) Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille This is a book that was part of our History/Geography curriculum. I’m not sure I would have picked this book out on my own. But boy am I glad that it was assigned to us! I never knew the life of the man who credit Braille was so interesting. We have even started digging in deeper and you will see another book about Louis Braille we read in March’s Raising Bookworm post.

11)Juliet The Valentine Fairy (Rainbow Magic) I reluctantly took this book out from the library. I’ve always thought these Rainbow Magic Fairy books would be too girly for my son. Like what seems to be the theme of this post, I was pleasantly surprised. While yes the main characters were all girls, the adventure and story itself was not overly girly. Jake Frost has ruined Valentine’s Day and everyone in the world is fighting. The main characters are working with the Fairy Juliet to restore the holiday.

This was another book I judged by its cover and was terribly wrong! So glad we picked it up from the library.

12)Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine (Nate the Great #15)

13)Beezus and Ramona (Ramona Quimby #1) This was another series, like the Boxcar Children, that I missed out on when I was a child. A few months ago I found the whole box set on Facebook Marketplace for $15, so I grabbed it. I’m glad I did because two of the books were assigned reading in Homeschooling Complete, and we read it as part of our Unit on Family. This book is also using the Bookshark. So when we get to this part of the curriculum I will likely pull out Ramona the Pest instead. While I found Ramona a royal pain in the butt, we did love this story. Hopefully in the next book Ramona will learn a few good lessons.

14)Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer (Nancy Clancy Chapter Books #2) This book was a little on the girly side for Zakari, it even made me cringe a little. It was not a bad book, but not the best match for a little boy like Zakari and his total boyish Mom.

15) Balto and the Great Race I remember the movie Balto, but this is a situation where the book is so much better! What an awesome, unforgettable and inspiring book! In my opinion everyone should read this book with their kids. I have the movie on hold at the library and Zakari and I are going to watch it for movie night this weekend.

16) Waking the Rainbow Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #10) I mention this every month, but this series is one of two series that really pulled Zakari into the world of reading chapter books. We have two more two more books in the series left before the 13th book is released at the end of April. We have it preordered, which is something I never do! But since Zakari’s birthday is 5 days after it is released I’m excited to give it to him for his birthday. If you haven’t read Dragon Masters, your missing out!

17)Cam Jansen and the Basketball Mystery (Cam Jansen Mysteries, #29) Like I mentioned above, his month we were new to Cam Jansen. This book was used as part of our Homeschool Complete Curriculum. Cam Jansen uses her photographic memory to help solve the mystery of the stolen basketball.

18) No Children, No Pets From what I can see, the only place you can purchase this book new is through Bookshark. But if your like me and don’t mind a used copy, you can find it in the Amazon Marketplace. Zakari and I really got into this book. It has the same kind of feel as the Boxcar Children. That might be because it was written in the early 70’s. I have to say it sucked us in and we were sad when we got to the end because we knew, unlike the Boxcar Children, there were no more books about these characters.

Picture books we read in February


All Around the Seasons

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons

The Secret Life of Squirrels

Perfect Snow

Simon Says: Seasons

The Snowy Day

The Tiny Seed

Tough Chicks

The Berenstain Bears at the Aquarium

Valensteins

The Berenstain Bears’ Valentine Love Bug

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink

Mr. Goat’s Valentine

In November

The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s

Saint Valentine

Llama Llama Be My Valentine!

Holiday FunHappy Valentine’s Day by Abbie Mercer

Hello Kitty Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown!

Mercer Mayer’s Happy Valentine’s Day, Little Critter!

A Baby Sister for Frances

Click, Clack, Moo I Love You!

What is Valentine’s Day?

10 Valentine Friends

Little Critter: Just a Little Love

Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine

Henry and the Valentine Surprise

The Sweetest Valentines (Hello Reader, Level 1)

Arthur’s Great Big Valentine

Amelia Bedelia’s Family Album

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend I feel like I have been under a rock. I never really knew who Johnny Appleseed was. Of course I have heard the name, but its not really a part of Canadian culture. But this was a book that was included in our History/Geography portion of Bookshark. I’m so grab it was! Johnny Appleseed seemed like an incredible man. We enjoyed this books so much we read the book about him in the Who Was Series. (Listed above)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George

Caterpillars to Butterflies by Bobbie Kalman We picked up this books at the library to compliment the unit in Bookshark Science on insects.

Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine Growing up I loved the Amelia Bedelia book series. Now they have books about her when she was a kid. Zakari’s tutor and I were talking and we both have started to think that maybe Amelia was on the Autism Spectrum. Either way Zakari and I loved these new books even more then the originals.

A Valentine for Ms. Vanilla

What did you and your children read last month? I always love hearing about new books to check out.

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Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

Homeschool Complete: First Grade Complete Review

Homeschool Complete K - 4th Grade & Unit Studies {Homeschool Complete Reviews}

I was really excited when I saw Homeschool Complete in the list of upcoming Homeschool Review Crew vendors. When I was selected to review their First Grade Complete curriculum I was ecstatic! I had actually been looking at purchasing it in the near future. So this was a huge blessing to our family.

What is Homeschool Complete?

Homeschool Complete is a literature based curriculum with biblical roots. Families can borrow the recommended books from the library, purchase them or even find many of them read aloud on YouTube.

Homeschool Complete provided me with a digital copy of their First Grade Complete Teacher’s Manual, including Student Workbook for Semester One. Included in this download are 18 Units topics with a total of 72 lessons.

I printed out the first 9 units and placed them in a 2 inch binder with dividers. This way I have all the teacher instructions and worksheets in one place. When we get closer to completing the first half of this semester, I will print out the last 9 weeks.

What Will We Be Studying?

Below you can see the list of Units we will be working through in Semester one.

Before writing this review, Zakari and I worked through and completed 3 of the units. Each Unit has a main chapter book for you to read aloud to your child. For the Family unit we read Beezus &Ramona. During the Seasons Unit we read Balto and the Great Race. For the Unit on Graphing we read Cam Jansen and the Basketball Mystery. Next week we are starting the Animal Unit and we will be reading Ralph S. Mouse.

What Subjects are covered with First Grade Complete?

First Grade Complete is an all inclusive curriculum. The teacher manual will walk you through, calendar time, Language Arts, Bible, Math, Physical Education, Art, Music & Science.

Parents can use this as a stand alone curriculum or to supplements what your family is already doing.

Gathering Literature

Our family decided that we were going to borrow the books listed from the library. For us it did not seem economical to purchase a new list of books for each unit as they are only used for one week. (Though the book hoarder in me really wanted to buy they anyhow.)

A week before we are going to start doing a lesson, I go on my local library website and place the books we need on hold. Because I live in a smaller city in Canada and some of these books are more “American”and not available. So I try and find similar books that will fit the bill. If I can’t I honestly don’t worry too much about it. Zakari and I read a lot as it is, and the curriculum manual offers lots of information on its own. So if we miss reading one books, Zakari really doesn’t suffer. If you are someone that needs to do it all to feel complete, check out YouTube and many of the books are available there read aloud.

Organizing the lessons

How We Get Ready For The Week

The night before I sit down and take out the lesson of the day and place it in a Duo-tang. Then I gather up the books we will need for the next days lessons. I find this is much easier for me then lugging around the large binder. Some families might find it easier to just print up the lessons one at a time. Or bring the PDF up on their tablet or phone. For me its easier to have it all ready to go. Honestly if it wasn’t a wasteful, I’d put each lesson in its own Duo-tang and just grab if off the shelf each morning. But with all the homemade books we make, I cannot sacrifice so many Duo-tangs.

How Homeschool Complete has changed my homeschool routine

Zakari and I have been doing calendar time every school day since the beginning of the year. I thought we had a pretty good routine set up. But after using First Grade Complete, we have completely revamped Calendar time. We now practice personal information, counting to 100, and skip counting too.

In the short time we have been adding this in I can see a huge change in Zakari’s ability to recite back this information with confidence.

Book Selection

If you’ve been on my Instagram or have followed this blog for a while, you know Zakari & I are big Bookworms. But over the last year I have been focusing mostly on chapter books. Because we are using First Grade Complete, we have been enjoying a lot more picture books. I have been taking out even more picture books from the library based on the topic of the week.

What We Love About Homeschool Complete

Homeschool Complete has:

  • helped us established a better homeschooling routine. Only 3 units in I can see the benefits to this already.
  • exposed us to many new great books we might not have otherwise picked up.
  • many options for different types of learners. Whether your child is a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner, this program has something for you.

What we have been skipping over:

Besides the math practice we work on during calendar time, I found that so far many of the math component in this curriculum is not a great fit for Zakari. Because of his autism we have chosen to stick to what we were doing previously. However, I think of a typical child he math in this curriculum would be great. That being said when a lessons math lesson looks like it can work for Z we through it in. But it is not our main program for math.

We also will be tweaking the unit on American Government, and changing it to study the Canadian Government instead.

Will we keep using this program?

Yes!

We plan on continuing to use this curriculum, overall it is a great fit. Homeschool Complete offers lots of different assignments in each lesson, which allows us to cherry pick the ones that we feel best suit Zakari.

I love curriculum that is literature based. It forces me out of my comfort zone when selecting books. Sometimes opening my eyes to a whole new series of books we had never heard of before.

Thank you Homeschool Complete for allowing me to review First Grade Complete

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Curious about Homeschool Complete’s unit studies & complete curriculum for other grades? 60 other bloggers from the Homeschool Review Crew have had the chance to review other Homeschool Complete products. Click the banner below to read other reviews by some awesome homeschool moms!

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My First Guest Post: 5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout

Last month Morgan Doman from Doman International contacted me to do a guest post on their blog. To say I was honored was an understatement.

What Is Doman International?

Doman International helps empower parents to transform their kids lives. They gives parents knowledge and tools to help their children with special needs grow and develop. Most importantly they give parents hope. When doctors and specialist are handing out diagnoses and list of things special needs children will never do, Doman International shows parents what their kids are able to do.

The Guest Post

Morgan basically gave me the freedom to share what was on my heart. So I decided I wanted to share my story about my battles with burnout. I love that I could be raw, blunt and truthful without fear of censorship.

You can read it here on Doman Internationals Blog: 5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout

How Am I Associated With Doman International?

A few years ago I went to Philadelphia to take the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course. The following year we went back so I could take the second set of lectures and so that my son could be evaluated. During these visits I built relationships with several of the staff members. Then a few months after our visit, the Institute split into two separate entities. Families had to make the choice which group they wanted their child to continue with. I found everyone my family and I had made connects with was with Doman International, so it was an easy choice for us.

At Doman International Parents Have a Voice

Another thing that I loved about Doman International is they listen to the parents. If I am doing something with Zakari that I find is helping, they want to know. Not only do they want to know, they want to call the company and dig deeper into it. They are open minded, and are always looking for new ways to help kids.

The Advance Consultation

This summer we will be doing an Advance Consultation with Doman International. What this will look like is we will receive seven video conference calls with the Doman International staff. The first call is an evaluation phone call. This is where they will perform a remote evaluation and discuss the last period of program. Then the second phone call is a summary call with a director, where we get to discuss the most important events from the last period. The staff then meet and design Zakari’s new program for the next six months. We will then have four calls to learn our new programs — a Nutrition call, one Respiratory call, a Physical Program call, and one Intellectual phone call. After these calls, we have an overview call with one of the directors. This is to ensure all our questions have been answered, and we are ready to move forward!

So stay tune this summer for a more detailed break down of our experiences with the Advance Consultation with Doman International!

Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

How Glenn Doman Changed How I Parent

How I Became The Parent I Am Today

Its was a quiet Friday afternoon and I was sitting in the reception chair at the front of a dental office I was working at. Usually I was in the back working as a dental assistant. But all my coworkers were gone to a retreat out of town. I had fibbed and said I didn’t have child care, so I was unable to go out of town. Really I was still upset that Wesley had taken his first steps when I was on the last business trip.

I was there to answer phones, book appointments and take payments if any patients came in. But besides that I was not trained to do much more. So I spent my time googling things I could do to help Wesley learn.

Little did I know this google search was going to change my perspective of children, and change my journey as a mother.

I stumbled upon this book: How To Teach Your Baby To Read by Glenn Doman. The more I read, the more I was intrigued. The things I could teach my young son were amazing and I needed to learn more.

Who Is Glenn Doman

Glenn Doman was a physical therapist in Philadelphia, who realized that what he had been trained to do with his patients was not getting the results they both desired.

He eventually met Dr Temple Fay, who became his’s mentor. They realized that mainstream forms of therapy were not helping the patients. At the time, they and everyone else were only treating the symptoms. What they eventually realized was the problem was not with the patients eyes, legs, etc. The problem was with the brain. Once they treated the brain, the symptoms started to get better.

Glenn Doman founded The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) in 1955. While their work originally started with elderly stroke victims, they soon discovered this method worked even better with children. Parents could be trained in the methods they used, and they soon discovered that there was no better person to run these children’s therapy programs then the child’s parents. Who was more invested in the success of the child then the parents themselves?

Special Needs Children Started Reading Better then Neurotypical Children.

One day a set of parent came into their office and told Glenn Doman that their severely brain injured child could read. To say Glenn and the staff were skeptical was an understatement. But after taking the time to test and observe the child, they soon realized that this child was in fact reading. Not only reading, but reading with full comprehension.

Soon they created the Doman Reading Method based on what they had observed with this young man. And lone behold, other special needs children started to read following this program. Not only did they learn to read, they started reading better then other children their age WITHOUT a brain injury.

If you want to read more about this, please check out the book: What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child by Glenn Doman.

How Glenn Doman Influenced The Way I Raised Wesley

The more I read, the more I needed to know. I got on the phone with our local bookstore and put the book on teaching your baby to read on hold. The clock seem to be moving like molasses as I waited for my shift to end. I went straight from Wesley’s daycare to the bookstore. Once I got Wes to sleep that night, I inhaled that book from cover to cover.

Once I Have Seen, It Cannot Be Unseen

Honestly, this is the phrase of this whole journey. I now knew all the wonderful things I could be teaching my son. How could I not do it now?

I soon realized the program had to be modified. I was a single mom with a full time job. It was OK I could not follow the schedule outlined in the book to a tee, we did our best. We used media like Your Baby Can Learn DVDs(formally Your Baby Can Read) & software like Little Reader during meals. I had words written on index cards with us in the car and in my purse.

Soon he could read 10 words, then 50 words, soon 150 words. The number was climbing daily! Soon my once nonverbal son was reading to me every night.

Off to Public School

When he left homeschool and started grade 1 half way through the year, I knew he could read. I didn’t have to worry about he being left behind in that department. Once you give a child the gift of reading, they can learn almost anything they want to.

Even when he was sitting playing Gameboy with his buddy who was the same age, his friend would often ask him to read to him what the game was asking. Wesley would pause his game, look at the other screen and read the other little boys game instructions to him.

How Glenn Doman Influenced the Early Days of Parenting Zakari

When I found out I was pregnant with Zakari, I was so excited! I was going to be able to raise a Doman Baby from birth! I researched and prepped materials.

Because of Glenn Doman, I believed I could teach my baby anything, as long as I presented it in an honest and factual way.

Zakari has always loved learning.

He started reciting his ABC’s at 12 months. I remember telling his aunt this, and I could tell she really didn’t believe me. Until one day she was holding him and he started singing his ABC’s, and she came up to us and said “Oh My God, he is saying his ABC’s!”

At 16 months old he was reading single words and knew his colours and shapes. At around 2 years old he knew his days of the week. He loved skip counting and singing.

Heading to Philadelphia

Things got a bit difficult for our family in 2014 when Zakari was diagnosed with Autism. We fought tooth and nail and thankfully got Zakari into the same local ABA program Wesley had been in. I knew that by following the Doman Method described in Glenn Doman’s book early on, I had given Zakari a head start. I thought that I could combined these two therapies again like I had for Wesley and he would excel.

While ABA did help Zakari a bit, it wasn’t as effective as it had been for Wesley. Because of government funding cuts, Zakari was also get less services then his older brother had gotten in the past. I knew I had to do something.

So I boarded a plane, and went to Philadelphia to that the What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child course (A similar course is also offered by Doman International called “The Doman Method: From Special Needs to Wellness” A few years ago IAHP split into two organizations. We are now working with Doman International).

After that week I came back a new person. A new mom. I had a new found respect for my children. As well as a whole new philosophy on how I wanted to educate them.

Homeschooling Using the Glenn Doman Method

I have to say, I got a lot more out of the course then just the programs the staff at the IAHP/Doman International taught us. I completely reevaluated how I originally thought I would homeschool my son. Instead of a workbook centered education, I decided on a literacy based education.

Why?

Now a days children are taught to hate learning. Teachers give them a beautiful gift. They teach them math, about their 5 senses, how an ancient society use to live, etc. Then BAM! They throw a test in front of them and want them to regurgitate everything they just learned.

Now learning is stressful. These kids learn they will be tested on this “gift” the teacher is giving them. Instead of enjoying the lesson they are wondering,”Do I have to remember this part?” “Is she going to ask me about this on the test?”

No Customization…

What if your child get really interested in a subject? In public school, too bad, we have a curriculum to follow. No time to dig a little deep. What if a subject bores them to death? Also too bad, it is also part of the curriculum and you better be ready to regurgitate everything on the test.

After attending this course I realized its better for me to just present my child as much information as possible. Expose him to as many books as physically possible. Follow his lead, and dig a little deeper on things that catch his attention. Dump things he’s not interested in.

I realized that I could skipping the long questions and interrogation early on. Later on he would trust me enough to do some fun and simple workbooks. If I keep it very light he’s happy to show me what he has learned. If he doesn’t want to, that’s fine. I trust that he has learned what he has needed from the lesson.

What Glenn Doman Has Taught Me

So while we do some of the programs we learned during our visits to the Institutes, our homeschooling is very different too. But I thank Glenn Doman for my style of homeschool. He taught me several things, but most importantly:

The ability to demonstrate intelligence is not an indication of a child’s actual intelligence.

Learning is a gift I am giving my child. I do not want to ruin it by asking for something back in return. I need to trust he has learned what he has needed from what I have shown him.

Final Thoughts

I take being my son’s teacher very seriously. Just because his language and fine motor skills are immature, I don’t assume he is less intelligent then the average 6 year old.

On the contrary, I believe he is smarter then that average 6 year old, he just has trouble expressing it. Now I’m not just being one of those mom’s who thinks their kid is better then every other kid. I believe in the right environment every child could do better then average. Actually, I believe every child should have the RIGHT TO DO BETTER THEN AVERAGE.

I look forward to our appointment this summer with Doman International. I can’t wait to learn more about how to help my children grow to their full potential .

Are you familiar with Glenn Doman? If so how has he changed the way you parent your children?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What to Learn More About Doman International?
Click HERE to fill out a quick form and a representative from Doman International will contact you to set a FREE 30-minute consultation.

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Homeschool Review Crew: IXL Review

I’m so excited to be teaming up with the Homeschool Review Crew and IXL Learning to share a review on the product IXL. We were blessed with a full annual subscription for both of my boys.

When I agreed to this review I thought I knew a lot about IXL. We were not new to the rodeo I thought, because I had used IXL with my oldest Wesley when we were homeschooling in kindergarten and grade 1. We had continue to use it for a while after we went back to public school as a supplement to his schooling.

Wow! I was pleasantly surprised to see all new materials now available. Back when we first used IXL, it was a math only website. I think before we let our subscription expire there were talks about adding Language Arts to the website.

Past IXL Experience

Back then IXL was a fantastic free & paid supplement for
math topics at levels ranging from pre-kindergarten to high school. Users without a paid membership could do up to ten questions a day. I knew families that did just this to make sure their child got a concept they were teaching in their homeschool.

However members can do as many questions as they wish and their results were recorded. The website also directed your child to what areas they should be working on next.

While the website did not actually teach the student how to do the math problems, it did give your child the chance to practice what they have learned. It offered students another medium to use what they had learned that day. We found it also showed us any holes in Wesley’s math education.

What Has Changed Since We Lasted Used IXL?

I’m happy to say the math component we loved is still there, and you can still do ten questions a day for free. But now IXL Learning offers users so much more with their product IXL.

Bundled up into one membership in 2013 IXL Learning added Language Arts. Then in 2015 they expanded with the addition of science and social studies. As of 2017 IXL also offers Intro to Spanish.

I love that whether your are in Canada, UK or the United States, you can look up the grade standards for your state or province. So you can see what students in your child’s grade are working on locally.

Wesley’s Experience

I have to say, out of my two children IXL fits Wesley the best. He enjoys the competition of trying to achieve 100%. As a kid who loves his videogames, the idea of collection points is very motivating for him. A few times a week I have had him sit down at the kitchen table to work on the IXL website.

Diagnostic Placement Test

The first time he sat down I had him take the diagnostic placement test which can be found in the tool bar under learning.

He was then brought to a screen that allowed him to pick one of two problems.

From there he worked on the diagnostic section for about 45 mins. By this point I felt he had done enough to get a good feel on what he needed to work on.

How Wesley Actually Uses IXL

The next day I had him come back and select whatever he wanted to work on from the Recommendations tab under learning.

Now 3 to 4 times a week Wesley races the clock. I set a timer for 30 mins, he picks whatever section he wants to out of the Recommendations. He works on that topic until he reaches 100 points or the timer runs out. I love to see him pushing himself. Motivation is sometimes hard for Wesley. However while racing against the clock, I find he is pushing himself.

I also think he likes the fact I let him pick which topic he wants to do out of the Recommendation tab. This put the control in his hands. If he wants to work on Language Art, great! Math? Sure! This Mama doesn’t care, as long as he’s working on something. Both Math & Language Arts are equally important in my mind. Whichever of the two topics peak his interest that day, I know he will do well on.

Zakari’s Experience

For my 6 year old first grader we decided to download the IXL App. Zakari does have autism, and while he’s extremely intelligent and has AMAZING gross motor skills, his fine motor skills are lacking. This makes operating a mouse extremely frustrating for him.

On the IXL app, we were able to access Math & Language Arts. Which is fine for us because Science and Social Studies do not start till 2nd grade on IXL, and Zakari is still in the 1st grade.

I have sat down with Zakari several times and we have used the IXL app. However even on the iPad, he struggles selecting the right answer due to his fine motor skills still being a bit immature. He is also not motivated by getting a high score, and the thought of getting to 100 is daunting and at this time unachievable due to his attention span. The app is also not as physically attractive as some of the other learning apps he’s use to using. He still needs a lot of the flash and dazzle to keep him interested.

So right now we are putting IXL away for Zakari for the time being. I know what a valuable tool it can be, and I do not want it becoming aversive to him. We will try again in a year or two when his attention and fine motor skills catch up to his academic level.

Final Thoughts…

I’m so glad that both my boys had the chance to use IXL Learning’s IXL program. It gave me the perfect chance to see how two kids can have completely different experiences with the same program.

Wesley will continue to use the program during the school year a few times a week. So far its great at discovering and closing up gaps. I also plan to use it this summer to prevent the summer slide. Which is even more important now that come September Wesley will be in the 9th grade and a high-schooler.

As for Zakari’s experience, I believe he was just not ready for the program. We will try again in a few years and I’m sure then we will have different results. I know Wesley was very successful with the program when he was younger then Zakari is now. Just each child learns differently. Its great that you can try 10 free questions each day for a few days and get a good feel if the program is a fit for your child.

Thank you so much IXL Learning for giving us the opportunity to use your program.

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