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Families Again
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Our New Prayer Letter is Out!
Topic: Ministry

Once again, Sarah has done a fantastic job in writing our missionary prayer letter. I mention some of our ministry things on our blog, but Sarah does a much better job at keeping you up to date on what's happening here at Good News Mission, and with our family. To view the newsletter, just click here or on the picture above. If you would like to receive our bi-monthly newsletter by email, our email address is at the bottom of the newsletter, just send us an email and we will put you on the list.

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:40 PM CST
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Friday, 4 December 2009
All About Spelling - I've Got A Secret!
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


Ok. I know I let the cat out of the bag that I used to be a school teacher in one of my last reviews. If you recall, I was actually an "Educational Therapist" and worked with kids who had learning difficulties.So what's the new secret? The new secret is that one of the techniques that we used to help teach reading and spelling was the Orton-Gillingham approach. The Orton-Gillingham approach believes strongly in phonics. Now, I heard recently that phonics was originally developed in the early 1900's as a way to keep people from learning how to read!  I don't know if that is true or not, but, what I do know, is that there has been tons of research done by some very intelligent people (several that I know personally) on how teaching phonics as a way to read and spell works. And, I know from experience that it works! That's why I was excited to find that All About Spelling is based on the Orton-Gillingham phonics method.

All About Spelling has broken the English language down to basic sounds. The letter or letters that make those sounds are called phonograms. The other thing that I was very excited to learn was that All About Spelling uses a multi-sensory approach. It is true that some kids are visual learners, some are auditory learners and some are hands on learners, but people learn best when they use a combination of those techniques. That's what All About Spelling does! They may have you seeing a sound on a "Phonogram Card", listening to that sound and how to spell it, then repeating it back to the teacher, then manipulating letter tiles to spell the sound all in the same lesson.

The first 26 phonograms that the student learns are the first 26 letters of the alphabet. Other phonograms - such as ch, sh, and th will be learned later. When you learn the phonograms, you learn all of the sounds that phonogram makes at the same time. For example, the letter o can make four different sounds. Since I don't know how to type the long and short sounds on the computer, let me tell you using key words. O can make one sound in the word "odd" then another in the word "open", another in the word "to" and still another in the word "oven". When you learn all of the sounds that a letter makes at once, it will help the student recall them because they were learned together and all stored in the same area of the brain.

As the student progresses, he will also be dictated words to spell and given techniques for knowing which letters to use to spell those words. He learns syllabication and basic spelling rule such as the silent e rule - you drop the silent e when adding a suffix beginning with a vowel, you keep the silent e when adding a suffix beginning with a consonant. Your student will read it, say it, hear it, manipulate it, and write it! Perhaps not all in the same lesson, but eventually all methods will be used to teach that sound or rule.

By this time you may be thinking that this sounds really hard. It's not hard at all! All About Spelling has done all the work for you. Their kits have everything you need, and their manuals have it word for word what you should say and what you should do. The lessons are short and should be able to be completed in less than 15-20 minutes. The kit even includes encouragers like a progress report so that your student can keep track of how much he has accomplished, and a certificate to keep when a level is completed. The only thing that is optional (but quite practical) that they suggest is a magnetic dry erase board that you can use the magnetic letter tiles with.

Ok, now you might be thinking that a "kit" for a very well researched program like this is probably very expensive. Wrong again! The Starter Kit that includes the sound CD (so that you can hear the proper way to say the sounds), letter tiles, and magnets (if you should choose to attach them to the tiles) is just $26.95. The materials in the Starter Kit can be used with multiple students. The Level One Materials - teachers manual, and letter cards for level one - is $29.95. You may think that you can use the cards with more than one student, but it would be difficult with the reviewing etc., so they have extra Level One student material packs for $14.95. Since the levels do not correspond with a grade anyway, they encourage all students to begin with Level One in order for them to have a firm foundation before going on to the other levels. Right now they have 5 levels with a sixth coming out soon. Although we have not used Level Two or above yet, I do know that the cost of those is a little higher, but still a reasonable $39.95 each level's manual and initial student material pack and $19.95 for extra student packs. You don't need to continue ordering the Starter Kit. It can be used for all levels.

As you can tell, I am a big fan of All About Spelling. I had been looking for a good spelling program for Joshua and I am so glad that All About Spelling sent me, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, all of the materials needed for Levels One and Two for free in order to use and review on this blog. I'll tell you more about Level Two when we get to it. To find out more about All About Spelling, just click here, or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. To find out what the other Crew members are saying about All About Spelling, click here.  Happy homeschooling.  

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:26 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 5 December 2009 12:59 AM CST
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It's Coming!!!
Topic: General

That's right it's coming! What is it?

I can't tell you yet, but I can give you a big hint!

More details will be announced soon!


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Posted by tink38570 at 10:47 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 4 December 2009 10:58 PM CST
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Thursday, 3 December 2009
I Can't Believe It! I Won!
Mood:  surprised
Topic: General

   I won in the Best Homeschool Dad Blog Category of the Homeschool Blog Awards!

Apparently there was some error in the tabulation of the votes! They had to count the hanging chads Laughing. Really, I am thrilled. I found myself reading the other nominated blogs and learning from them. Some of their blogs look so much better. I was just happy to be among them. Soon, on The Homeschool Blog Post, they will post all of the blogs that were nominated. Please continue to visit them. They are great!

Thank you all for voting for me! And, thanks goes to The Homeschool Blog Post for having these awards and for all of the hard work that they put into them every year. Thanks also to all of the companies that donated prizes.

I will keep you posted as to what the prizes are that I won. I know that there are a couple of magazine subscriptions, and one of those neat pictures where an artist takes a photo and then repaints it on canvas. Since all of my readers were so instrumental in voting for me, I will let you all know what else as I learn about them.



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Posted by tink38570 at 11:15 PM CST
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Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Ah! The Joys of Living in Middle Tennessee.
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: General

Today was windy and rainy, but last week, right before Thanksgiving, it was beautiful. In fact, while I was out walking the yard I snapped (do you still "snap" when you use digital cameras?) a few pictures of my still blooming flowers.

Late in November! Sarah's everlasting rose bush still had blooms on it!

I was shocked to even find blooms on my azalea. They usually only bloom in the spring.

That would have never happened up north. The weather may not be as nice as it was in Florida, but we do have the changing of the seasons here. Notice the trees in the background of the rose picture. Winter is short, though. We will be out in the yard working again come February.

Ah. Yes. The joys of living in Tennessee!

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Posted by tink38570 at 11:39 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 3 December 2009 10:18 PM CST
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