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Families Again
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
AVKO Website Membership
Topic: Homeschool Product Review

What do you do when you have a child that is horrible at spelling - like my son John Allen. I am constantly correcting his writing pages, grammar pages, anything that involves putting words on to paper. But, what do I do? Do I wait until that word comes up in his spelling book? Do I go back and review the word from a previous spelling list? Do I have him write the words that he misses ten times each? Would he even remember how to spell that word a week later if I did? Recently I found the answer! AVKO's Sequential Spelling. Now before you start shouting at your computer that this is a spelling program that has spelling books, and wouldn't that be the same as looking back at former spelling lists, let me explain.

Recently, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received a free membership to the special AVKO member section of AVKO's website in order to try it out and review it on this blog. As you can see on the banner above, "AVKO is a non-profit organization devoted to helping teachers, parents, and researchers since 1974". You are correct in saying that AVKO does have a series of books called Sequential Spelling. I had been looking at it for some time to possibly buy for either John Allen or Joshua. But, did you know that anyone could take the principles that Sequential Spelling is based upon and use those principles themselves? Neither did I, until I began looking around AVKO's membership section. In fact, they not only tell you how to develop your own spelling program, but have downloads with word families to help you develop your own program.

Let me first explain how Sequential Spelling works. You first begin with a word family - let's say the in family. You would dictate to your student the word in first. You would then dictate a word such as pin. You may then add an "s" and ask them to spell pins. Then you might add the doubling rule and ask them to spell pinning and possibly spinning. Later you might add the word bin just to make sure that they are understanding that all words in that family are spelled alike. You get where this is going. Instead of learning a rote list of words that they will forget in a weeks time, your child is learning practical word families. If you buy the books, all of this is done for you. Unfortunately, you are then stuck to waiting until a particular word comes up in one of the future lessons, or, if he learned it previously, go back and review it. If you buy a membership to AVKO's membership section, then you can download for free their great, over 1600 page (yes I said 1600 pages) book The Patterns of English Spelling Plus Word Families in Sentence Context.  This fantastic book has all of the word families listed so all you have to do is look up a word and develop a spelling list around it!

Recently John Allen spelled the word because - becaose. So, I'm going to develop a word list to help him learn how to spell this word. I look in my downloaded book, find the word "because" in the alphabetical list and it tells me that the word family that "because" is in is word family 436. I look up word family 436 and see that I need to begin with the word cause then progress to causes, and caused, then because, clause, applause etc. It's as simple as that. I have now developed a spelling list for a spelling problem that John Allen is having right now. I don't have to review or wait until later! I can do the same thing with any word that he is having trouble spelling.

But, that's just one really neat thing that I found that you can do with an AVKO membership. There are a lot of great ebooks that you can download that will help you with your homeschooling. In fact, if you bought all of the ebooks that you get free with a membership, it would cost you into the 100's of dollars! They also have a large section titled "Readings for Comprehension". It includes puns, funny stories, inspirational stories, humorous quotations for comprehension or dictation, puzzles and quizzes and more. There is even a link to a great website called "Spelling City". AVKO has teamed up with Spelling City to create spelling lists for those of you who don't want or have time to create your own.

What does all of this cost? Hundreds of dollars? Nope! It's just $25 a year for a Basic Membership or $100 a year for a Deluxe Membership. Here are the differences between the two as described on the AVKO website:

Benefits of AVKO Deluxe Membership

Institutional Membership is open to individuals as well as tutoring centers, schools, learning centers, homeschool resource centers, etc.
Access to all of the benefits of AVKO's Basic Membership (see below)
25% discount off all materials ordered
Read-only access to ALL AVKO curriculum materials (except for Sequential Spelling and Engaging Language Kits)
Access to AVKO's newest e-books:
Word Family Supplements 1-7 for Sequential Spelling
Spelling Remediation Test Kit

Benefits of AVKO Basic Membership

Discounts on AVKO printed materials
Hundreds of dollars worth of FREE e-books (PDF)
The Patterns of English Spelling (All 10 Volumes) with Word Families in Sentence Context
To Teach a Dyslexic
Starting at Square One
The Teaching of Reading & Spelling: a Continuum from Kindergarten through College.
The Reading Teacher's List of Over 5,500 Basic Spelling Words
Access to the Member Only section
AVKO Newsletter with freebies, discounts, resources, and promotions
Access to Don McCabe's most popular workshop recordings in MP3 format.
Supplemental Curriculum Materials including word games, worksheets, activities, and more!
Access to Pretests and Placement Tests
Access to the Answer Keys for the Unscramblers and Family Reunion exercises of the Engaging Language Kits

As you can see, there is something for everyone in AVKO's membership section whether you use the Sequential Spelling books or not! An AVKO membership is something that you can use for your child if you homeschool or if you are just trying to supplement your child's public or private school education. Even if you don't want to become a member (but I'm sure you will), there is a free section on the AVKO website that you can use. To check out AVKO's website, just click here, or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To see what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members are saying about AVKO, click here. I am really sold on AVKO and I think you will be as well. Check it out today.

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Posted by tink38570 at 1:35 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 November 2009 11:21 PM CST
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Quick Update! How Cool Can You Get?

I was very pleasently surprised to find that CBH (see below's post) had special links where you could actually put the devotional from the day's Keys for Kids or the Down Gilead Lane half hour radio program right on your own blog! So, at the bottem of the left column is the devotional followed by the intro to the radio program. The devotional will automatically change daily and the radio program will change weekly. There is even a button that you can click on to hear the devotional read to you by "Uncle Charlie"! The radio show looks like it is a continuous story that involves a mystery. Should be fun. Don't forget to check back here every day! How cool can it get?

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:05 AM CST
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Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Some Really Neat Free Things for Your Family - Check Them Out!
Topic: FamiliesAgain Freebies

As you all know, one of the reasons that I signed up for NaBloPoMo and pledged to write at least one post a day for the month of November, was because I wanted to get back to my roots. Although I love and will continue to write reviews for the TOS Homeschool Crew, I realized that I was neglecting the initial values that I had set for my blog of Faith, Family and Ministry. I wanted to get back to writing posts that would help strengthen  families, mine and others.

Recently I was reintroduced to CBH Ministries (formerly known as the Children's Bible Hour). We have used their devotional products before, and really liked them. When I was looking over their recently redesigned webpage, I was pleasantly surprised that they were now providing direct links to two of their fantastic free products that I felt would fit in well with the goal of this blog.

The first was Keys for Kids. We have used this great children's devotional in the past, that I knew you could either subscribe to or download for free from the CBH website. What I didn't know was that they now had a link that would take you directly to the devotional for the day. If you click on the above Keys for Kids logo, it should take you straight to their page. It should automatically change, so keep checking back every day. So that you won't have to keep looking back for this post, I have included a link over in the left hand column for you to click on daily.

The other free link is for their half hour children's radio program Down Gilead Lane. We have never listened to it before, but if it is half as good as Keys for Kids, then it should be great. I am looking forward to listening to it with the kids.

Although I am very weak in this area, I really feel that daily devotions are essential to a healthy relationship with God. I am really excited to be able to provide these links for you and am looking forward to reconnecting with them during our daily family time. Don't forget to check back here regularly to get the new devotional and broadcast!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:08 PM CST
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Monday, 16 November 2009
Wreaths Of Maine - John Allen's at it Again!
Topic: The Kids


Last year, John Allen began his entrepreneurial career by selling Christmas wreaths with "Wreaths of Maine". Wreaths of Maine is a company that sells Christmas wreaths and primarily works with homeschoolers. He ended up earning over $60 from all of his hard work. This year, because of sickness and other difficulties, we haven't been able to do quiet as much selling but, he is giving it good try and hopes to, this week, make up for it. Last year he gave some of the money to us for Christmas. This go around, however, all of the money is going to him to put into savings.

This year, again, we are making him do most of the work and he is doing very well. He's memorized his spiel, learned how to fill out the order forms and paperwork, and is learning to be positive and persevere when no one seems to be buying.

He (and we) would love it if you would think about buying one. If you are interested, you can visit the Wreaths of Maine web site at http://www.wreathsofmaine.com  to check out their products. Just enter John Allen's code #4086 where it is called for.

Thanks ahead of time. John Allen would be thrilled.



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Posted by tink38570 at 9:03 PM CST
Updated: Monday, 16 November 2009 10:18 PM CST
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Sunday, 15 November 2009
Home Makeover - Good News Mission Edition
Topic: Ministry

So, Ok, it wasn't really Home Makeover from TV. But it was just as good! Last spring I was contacted by a church from GA who was looking for a mission project to get involved with. Our regional director, Ken Grubb, told them about us and we got into contact with each other. Six months later they were here! Because of sickness and some financial difficulties with a few families, only three men ended up coming.  Our three great volunteers were, Tim Remaley, their fearless leader, who runs a men's drug and alcohol rehab center; Richard, one of the men who went through the rehab program and has an awsome testimony; and, Brother Don, who plays a mean guitar and is the pastor of their church. Originally they were just going to come and paint the mission, but they ended up painting our whole house as well! They were helped by Good News Mission's treasurer and husband, Virginia and Royce Harris. I tried to help, but probably ended up being more of a nuisance than I'm worth. Sarah and her ladies cooked and cleaned and made sure everyone had what they needed. Wednesday night, their last night here, Tim, who learned to cook in Europe, cooked an awesome meal for all of the people who come to the mission. Pastor Don played his guitar and led in music, and Richard gave his testimony. It was a fantastic ending to a fantastic week. Check out the following pictures.

            The front of the mission without trim painted.                                                                  Our house sure needed painting!

                                 Tim and pastor cooking.                                                                                  Virginia with Miss Marie.

                                         Richard's awesome testimony.                                                                      The "Strolling Musician".

                    Richard and Pastor with Sarah and some of her ladies.                                       Richard, Royce, Tim and Pastor Don.

Thank you, Lord, for Tim, Richard and Pastor Don travelling all of this way to help us out. Please bless them in their ministries and lives and bring them back to us again next year. Thank you, also, Lord, for our friends Royce and Virginia. Please bless them as they continue to volunteer and help us during the year. Thank you for this ministry that you have given us to do. Bless the folks that we work with. Amen

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Posted by tink38570 at 12:07 AM CST
Updated: Sunday, 15 November 2009 12:35 AM CST
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