Tag Archives: 2nd grade

Susan K Marlow’s New Andi books ~ a Crew review

Circle C Stepping Stones series

Circle C Stepping Stones is a new series from author Susan K. Marlow and published by Kregel Publications. The first two books in the series, Andi Saddles Up and Andi Under the Big Top, continue to sage of Andrea Carter, affectionately known as Andi.

Andrea Carter, or Andi, begins the Circle C Stepping Stones series on her 9th birthday. This scene is one that just about every little girl (and boy) can relate to: hoping beyond hope for a long desired gift. This quickly endears the reader to Andi and her plight of trying to grow up strong and independent with a mind of her own while obeying and honoring her mother and her older brothers, who are in charge of the ranch.

Andi Saddles Up

Andi Saddles Up –

Andi gets a wonderful birthday breakfast and lovely gifts from her family. But when she is followed by the whole family out to the barn, she begins to wonder what’s up. She finds out that she does, after all, get a brand new saddle for Taffy, her horse. After saddling up, her big brother takes her out for a ride to try it out and to discuss new privileges – Andi can now ride Taffy when she wants! She also gets shown a special place that almost no one else knows about.

One day while at this special place, Andi meets a new friend, Sadie. The girls quickly become good friends, swapping stories and trading rides for fishing bait. Andi and Sadie enjoy their new friendship, even after they find out that their families are disagreeing about a property boundary. When something happens and help is needed quickly, can the families be calm and kind? And can Andi and Sadie’s friendship survive the family struggles?

Andi Under the Big TopAndi Under the Big Top –

The circus is coming to town and Andi is terribly excited. Getting to see exotic animals and bareback riders and acrobats are the things Andi’s dreams are made of. Watching the circus parade is such a joy for Andi, especially seeing the world champion bareback rider!

Then Andi meets Henry. Henry is a little boy who works for the circus. Only, Andi notices he doesn’t seem very happy and Andi begins to wonder, for the first time, if maybe the circus is not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. After an altercation in which Andi’s big brother helps Henry avoid undeserved punishment, Henry is able to take Andi behind the scenes of the circus. This adventure is such a joy for Andi and her big sister Melinda.

But, Henry is still on Andi’s mind. She has realized that he ran away from home to join the circus and is now unable to get away; he is trapped. She wants to help him but after she finds out what he has done, can she?

What We Thought –

Miss L, age 10, read these books through the day we received them. She has enjoyed the Circle C Beginnings series and was ready to continue reading about Andi’s adventures. She wrote the following summaries about the books:

Andi Saddles Up is a fun book. It is about Andi, of course, and her family when a river that divides her family’s property and their neighbor’s, the Hollisters, property changes its course during a flood. Meanwhile, Andi makes a new friend with Sadie Hollister and she then wants to hang onto their friendship, even while their families fight. I love the way the book ends and I really liked the part about the hoof picks! Susan K Marlow is so talented! I think that I would recommend this book for ages 7 + up, maybe a year or two younger if it is a read-aloud.

Andi Under the Big Top is a nice book, too. All the details made me feel like I was really at the circus with her, and yet, reading. And the thick plots! I was really impressed that Marlow was able to get as much good plot and details in as she was without just dragging the story along with it. I think that I would recommend this one for ages 7 + up as well. Again, maybe a little younger for a read-aloud.using the study guide

Miss J (just turned 8) is reading the books at a slower pace. She is also working on the Study Guides that are provided to go along with the books. You can find the Study Guides on the webpages for the books, both at Kregel Publications and on the Circle C Stepping Stonespage (where they are called activity pages; you can also find coloring pages). These Study Guides provide a nice supplement to the books. They contain comprehension questions and activities. They cover subjects such as vocabulary, poetry, history, character study, Bible, music, and more. It is recommended that the guides take 21 days to complete but they are pretty easy to speed up or slow down as your family needs. We have really enjoyed adding these Study Guides to our reading and making this a more complete literature study.

Overall –

The Circle C Ranch books are wholesome, with good, solid ideas and themes, as well as Biblical ideas and character building opportunities. The new Circle C Stepping Stones series is no different. Andi is growing and some of my favorite parts in these books are where she remembers to go to God when she sees something that He can help with or when she is suddenly thankful. (Thank you, God, for giving me a brave sister! p. 76 Andi Under the Big Top)  I thoroughly enjoy those little moments of showing God in the everyday.

Circle C Stepping Stones books

We adore Mrs. Marlow. Her writing has been a joy to read since we were first introduced to her stories. We have told tons of people about them and encouraged our library to order the books. (They did! All of them! And they have ordered these new ones, too, since we told them they were out!) Miss E is waiting (im)patiently for me to get the newest one of the Circle C Milestones series. We highly recommend these books.

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We have previously reviewed these other books by Susan K. Marlow:
The Last Ride
Tales From the Circle C Ranch
Thick as Thieves

There are other Homeschool Review Crew families who have been reading these books, as well. Please click on the banner below to read what they thought of Circle C Stepping Stones.

Andi Series {Kregel Publications and Susan K. Marlow Reviews} 

Find out more on social media:

Twitter (Kregel Books): https://twitter.com/KregelBooks
Twitter (Susan K Marlow): https://twitter.com/SuzyScribbles
Facebook (Kregel Books): https://www.facebook.com/KregelBooks/
Facebook (Susan K Marlow): https://www.facebook.com/SusanKMarlow?fref=ts

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A Little House on the Prairie study ~ a review

little-house-title

The youngest giggly girl, Miss J, has just turned 8 and while she likes books, she does not have the huge enjoyment of books that the other two giggly girls have. So, when I heard that In the Hands of a Child was looking for families to try out some of their project packs, I sent them a message and told them I was definitely willing and would love something for Miss J. After a short email discussion to decide on a title, they gave us their A Little House on the Prairie curriculum download to try.

project-pack-cover-little-house

Miss J saw me downloading it and printing it off, just before bedtime, and came over to see what I was doing. When she realized it was a “Laura book” study, she got kind of excited. When I showed her what it was, she got really excited and wanted to start right away, regardless of the fact that it was bedtime. So, when you are homeschooling and you find something that excites the learning in your child, what do you do? You start right away.

lapbook-pieces-little-house

We began reading the first chapter that night and doing the corresponding activities. We marked a map and wrote some of the biographical highlights of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life. After the first night of excitement, I kind of expected there to be a tapering off of the joy of reading the book and working on the corresponding lapbook parts. But there has not been. Miss J has enjoyed working on this every time and it is the first school work she wants to do each day.

Well, except for the chapter summaries. She is getting tired of those but I don’t really blame her. She was doing a summary per chapter but we have moved to a summary for every couple of chapters or just a sentence about the chapter. Twenty-six summaries is quite a few. 🙂

folder-2-little-house

The variety of activities included in this lapbook keeps the interest level high. From learning vocabulary words (which Miss J begged to do as often as possible, including writing the definitions) to summarizing a how-to from the story to thinking about all the daily chores required for a pioneer family, the activities have been interesting and exciting for Miss J. She has learned a lot and enjoyed it.

The activities included by In The Hands of a Child do a great job of extending the learning to parts of a story, character and setting, writing, history, geography, and other skills. We have been very pleased with the activities and learning, especially for our child that doesn’t just jump for joy every time we mention reading time. Now, she asks to do her literature study more often than almost any other part of her school work. That is a great move forward for her.

There is a suggested schedule but we found that, in addition to our other schoolwork, this schedule was just too rigorous. So, we pulled it back to reading one chapter a day and completing one or two activities a day. This made the Project Pack much more manageable for our 2nd grader. I also found that if Miss J dictated and I wrote some for her, she got much more informative in her narratives and summaries. So, we did quite a bit of that, as well.

keeping-track-little-house

We definitely can recommend checking out In The Hands of a Child and their lapbooks. The digital download via CurrClick was simple and gives me easy access to the instructions without having to print them out. I can print out the parts we need to create the lapbook and leave the others stored electronically. We actually moved the download onto the Kindle to make it easier to access while the other giggly girls needed the computer.

Lots of fun is to be found in the use of a lapbook and In The Hands of a Child has done a nice job of including a variety of activities. Please visit their site to learn more and see their many, many options.

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Disclaimer
I received a FREE copy of this product from In The Hands of a Child in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Blaze Books

billy-and-blaze-2

One thing that always thrills me is when I stumble upon a book that Miss J loves. This happened a couple of months ago when I somehow came upon the titles for a series of books about a horse named Blaze. These books were originally written back in the 1930s and are just wonderful! The drawings are imaginative and simple and the writing is superb.

These are early chapter books but they are not too hard for Miss J. In fact, they were the perfect fit. The branch of the library we normally go to did not have any of these books so I had to request the first one.

blaze-booksI got it home and had Miss J begin reading. She was hooked. She requested and read every single one our library system had.

The premise of the story is a friendship between a little boy named Billy and a horse named Blaze. They have adventures and get into some tight situations together. Through it all, the friendship grows stronger and stronger. These books are fun and simple and just right for a young reader.

The series by C. W. Anderson includes:

  • Billy and Blaze
  • Blaze and the Mountain Lion
  • Blaze and the Forest Fire
  • Blaze and Thunderbolt
  • Blaze and the Gray Spotted Pony
  • Blaze and the Lost Quarry
  • Blaze Shows the Way
  • Blaze Finds the Trail

I think there are a few more but this gives you a pretty good idea of the extent of the series. Each one is about 50 pages long with stunning drawings. Each story is a thrill with a happy ending. Just what I want my younger child exposed to for now. The other stuff will come along soon enough.

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Story Cubes Story Time

 

Miss J was given a new set of story cubes the other day and decided to use them this afternoon to create a new story. Here is her fun story:

story-cubes-titles

There was a little girl and she was using a map to find treasure in a cave. Her name was Ezil and she saw the treasure. It was a key. She was puzzled. Then she saw a door. But it was locked. Then she saw that there were two pictures that were the same on the door and on the key and unlocked the door. There was a new world with planes that were always full! And apples with notes in them! And canes that were made out of sugar cane! And clocks that were just on time to tick-tock! And it snowed there but it never did get cold! And the best thing of all is that there are NO LOCKS!

 

Hope you enjoyed reading about her new land! Story Cubes are a fantastic way to prompt some creative writing and allow tons of freedom for the student. This is not a post that is sponsored. It is a product we love. We have three or four sets of story cubes, as each set has different characters. If you don’t have any, I highly recommend them.

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Jolly Phonics & Jolly Grammar ~ a TOS review

Jolly Literacy review

I never thought I would see the day when Miss J begged to do multiple phonics and grammar lessons. This is the case every almost every school day since we began using Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar, which are both by jollyliteracy.com.

Jollyliteracy.com, also known by the official company name just2ducks LLC, is quite a different program than any I have seen. I’ll be honest and tell you I really don’t like teaching phonics. It seems almost a waste time to me but that is because reading has come very easily for everyone in our family. Even so, jollyliteracy.com has helped me to see the value in teaching phonics, even after a student can read.

Miss J is beginning 2nd grade, reading very well, and knows quite a bit about phonics through general day-to-day reading and discussion, plus a previous phonics program. She has not, however, done any specific grammar programs. I give you that just to kind of help you understand why we are using jollyliteracy.com as we are.

jollyliteracy.com books

Jolly Phonics came with three Student Books (Student Books 1, 2, and 3 in print letters) and a Teacher’s Book in print letters which includes the lessons for all three Student Books. These three books are progressive in the knowledge, with each one building on the one before. Once we received these books, I looked through them to try to gauge where Miss J would place.

Student Book 1 is dedicated to introducing the student to the letter sounds. There is a page for each of the 42 main sounds of the English language. 12 tricky words are covered. Student Book 2 begins providing the student opportunities to practice reading and writing the letter sounds and introduces capital letters. There are alternative spellings discussed for some of the sounds and more tricky words are introduced. Student Book 3 works on better understanding of alternative letter-sound spellings and introduces the remainder of the tricky words. Improvement of comprehension, reading and writing skills are also goals of Student Book 3. All three levels are designed for one page to be completed per lesson. All together, these three books give a complete year of instruction. Jolly Songs book and CD, which we also received, go right alongside Student Book 1, presenting a letter sound in song format with a familiar tune. These tunes repeat and the CD is right there to help you out if you need it.

I could easily have chosen to not have her do any of the phonics Student Books as there is quite a bit in Book 3 that she already knew. However, there was enough in there that we hadn’t really covered that I felt it would be a good review and teaching combination for her.

Jolly Phonics Student Book 3

Some of what she knew: the ph sound combination, most of the “tricky words” she could read without any problem, blending sounds, comprehension of simple to mildly complex sentences.

Some of what I knew she needed: finding alternatives that make the same sound (i.e. – ou and ow), spelling, dictation practice.

We absolutely enjoy using Jolly Phonics. We complete a lesson on Monday and Thursday with Jolly Grammar on Wednesday and Friday. And most days, she wants to do more than one lesson. Alright by me, as it doesn’t seem to affect the phonics program.

Each lesson follows a fairly consistent plan. Begin with some review of sounds or tricky words. Give instruction for the lesson, using the page in the student book for some parts. These might include reading, writing, or drawing. There will either be some dictation of simple sentences, blending practice with some more difficult words, or reading some sentences. The Teacher’s Book is essential for this program as it contains many things that are not in the student book for each lesson.

Each page is colorful, simple and draws Miss J right in. As I said, she really likes this program and asks to do more than one lesson a day. Sometimes, she asks to do both phonics and grammar on the same day. Which brings us to the grammar program.

spelling testJolly Grammar 1 is what we have been using. We received Jolly Grammar 1 Student Book in print letters and Jolly Grammar 1 Teacher’s Book in print letters. Jolly Grammar is just as simple to implement as Jolly Phonics. It’s bright, colorful, and uncluttered pages make it a joy and it draws the student right to the page without being a distraction. This program follows the Jolly Phonics program with the goal of teaching basic grammar, spelling, reinforcing the phonics program, and improving comprehension and vocabulary. The Teacher’s Book is required for this program, as with the phonics, because it contains a number of pieces for each lesson that are not printed in the Student Book.

Jolly Grammar is intended to be taught with two lessons a week. This gives you approximately 36 weeks’ worth of lessons in this program. This equates to a single page per lesson. One lesson is designed to be mostly spelling and the other mostly grammar. Again, we are using this in combination with the Jolly Phonics, so we are alternating days and seeing a lot of overlap, which is quite good. I contacted jollyliteracy.com to ask about the combination of the two programs and she felt like, based on what I told her about Miss J’s abilities, that this combination would work fine and I have been very pleased.

Examples of activities from the grammar book include: finding words that have a particular sound in them, listing the words, and illustrating them; finding mistakes in sentences such as missing capitals and periods in the wrong place; and, dictation of words and sentences. Spelling tests include 10 words and have a special place at the back of the student book for writing the test.

Phonics Book 3

The biggest issue we are having is that Miss J is enjoying these two programs so much that she really wants to fly through them. Which is hard when every other lesson in Jolly Grammar includes a spelling test! But, Miss J is a very good speller so these are pretty much reviews for her. Except for the long word included in each list. Those are giving her problems but she is still loving it and the challenges the program presents. And I am enjoying using this program to teach. Published by just2ducks LLC, Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar get my vote.

At Home.

 

Visit jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC on social media:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jollyliteracy
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jollyliteracy
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jollyliteracy/

 

Please visit the Review Crew to find other families who have been using jollyliteracy.com and to read about their experiences.

Jolly Phonics and Jolly Grammar ReviewCrew Disclaimer

Baking is fun!

Making donuts baking is fun

Miss J enjoys learning about doing anything in the kitchen. Recently, we have watched a kids’ baking show on Netflix. This really upped her interested. So, this morning when she asked for donuts for breakfast, guess who made them?

We used the recipe that is the favorite of our family. (Here’s the post with the link to the Family Fun recipe.) But she did the recipe reading, the measuring, the cooking, and the decorating. I acted as the assistant and got out, put away, and cleaned up after the baker. It was fun and she really enjoyed her breakfast. She did, however, need a shower afterwards since decorating can be such all-involving work and leave streaks of icing across your face and in your hair. 🙂

making donuts eat up

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