One of the first big hurdles that homeschooling parents face is, “How will I teach my child to read?” This is so important, but also can seem really daunting to folks who have no idea where to begin with such a monumental task.
While there are many ways to teach kids to read, by and large, if your child is having fun, they will typically learn more quickly. Enter: Reading Eggs! This computer (and app) based reading program utilizes games, songs, golden eggs, rewards, and fun activities to help your child (ages 2-13) learn to read OR improve their reading skills in a way that feels like play.
My own grandsons, ages 4, and 5 have been using Reading Eggs for under a year, and they both love it. The 5 year old is already reading quite well with no formal lessons other than what he’s getting on Reading Eggs! His 4 year old brother is not far behind. They both understand the concept of sounding out a word, they both recall all the word sounds, and find the challenge of reading to be really fun and exciting. It’s been basically seamless to get them to this point. You can access Reading Eggs on a computer or tablet. (I have found that the tablet interface works better for little ones who struggle with mouse skills on a computer.)
In addition to the lessons and levels on Reading Eggs, you have the option to pair the computer learning with workbooks. Each lesson has a coordinating few pages in the workbook that will give your child the opportunity to put pencil (or crayon) to paper and help reinforce what they’ve been learning. We have the Kindergarten level workbooks, and both grandsons love getting to do these lessons. The graphics are bright and cheerful, and the directions are clear and concise. I like that the workbooks give the kids space to write, color, circle, trace, work on penmanship skills, learn how to follow a variety of instructions, and more. It’s also nice that at intervals in the book the child’s accomplishments are celebrated, and they are directed to specific books in the Reading Eggs library that the child will now be able to read at their current skill level.
Accompanying Reading Eggs is also Math Seeds, which gives a similar style of instruction, but for numbers and math skills. Thanks to what they’ve been learning from their Math Seeds lessons, as well as their natural love for learning, my little guys now happily tell me math facts, are starting to understand skip counting, as well as conceptualizing math concepts. They also enjoy the Kindergarten level math skills workbook and the variety of activities included there.
I really like it that Reading Eggs and Math Seeds are each designed to help your child move ahead on their skills in about 15 minutes a day, which, when having fun at computer games, goes down pretty easy for the kiddos. In my many years of homeschooling my own kids, I have found that any kind of “stealth” learning is preferable to sit-down school. Imagine a world where kids never forget that learning is fun! We have the opportunity to let it be so.
Reading Eggs is super affordable and includes access for up to 4 children in your family. You can even start with a free month to see how you like it.
This blog post was sponsored by Reading Eggs and some materials/access were provided to me for free. As always, this article reflects my honest opinions and experiences.
If you are looking for Suzuki music lessons for your family that makes it easy AND affordable, you are going to LOVE this. Homeschooling mom of 9 and 30 year Suzuki instructor Sarah Van Kleeck took her passion for music education and created an amazing way to make Suzuki lessons accessible for families like yours.
Practice Monkeys provides live, online music classes, practice sessions, and support for violin, piano, cello, and guitar. Rather than running your kids to weekly lessons and then reminding them over and over again to “go practice,” Practice Monkeys has the built-in expertise, accountability, and community to help your family follow through on your decision to learn to play an instrument. At just $59 per month for THE WHOLE FAMILY, Practice Monkeys is heaps and bounds more affordable than going elsewhere for music lessons.
For families that are just starting out or who prefer to take classes at their own pace, Sarah Strings is now up and running for beginner violinists. With this program you can enjoy the pre-recorded classes in your own time, and go back through any classes as you like. They plan to expand the offerings on this site to also include piano, cello, and guitar. At only $49 per month for the whole family, you can’t beat it if you don’t need any live classes.
Both Practice Monkeys and Sarah Strings offer a wonderful value for busy families. If Suzuki music lessons are on your wish list, you will definitely want to check them out.
I’ve done two videos explaining more about Practice Monkeys and my experience attending some of their classes. Check those out below:
Are you looking for a PE option for your family?
Do you have wiggly kids that need somewhere to direct all that amazing energy?
Would your kids enjoy taking dance classes, without the high scheduling pressures of traditional dance schools, OR the high price tag?
YouDance is an awesome, homeschool family-friendly solution to all of these needs!
Founded by a second generation homeschooler, YouDance provides a safe and wholesome environment for families to learn to dance at home! Yes, you can enjoy these classes without ads, pop-ups, or coarse language, and without any questionable or inappropriate movements. Instead your kids get to build confidence, strength, and coordination as they learn and experience the art of dance.
A YouDance subscription gives your entire family unlimited, on-demand access to a growing library of over 1,000 dance class videos, including Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary, Clogging and Jazz. There are courses especially for little ones, beginner through advanced levels, and even videos you can follow along with if you want to dance for exercise and fun. There are so many videos that will serve every member of your family!
I tried out YouDance with my 3 year old grandson, and he just loved the Kids Intro to Jazz, which combined things like learning to spell Jazz, reviewing left and right, some good basic stretch motions, and then onto fun stuff like learning to do jazz hands and a simple little dance. It was perfect for his age and attention span since it kept his attention and moved from one activity to another pretty quickly. I’ve included a little clip of him in this video review I did:
I also love it that YouDance allows you to learn in the privacy of your own home. I have always loved dance, but at my age and fitness level (ah-hem) I do not think I would have the confidence to go to a class in public. With YouDance I can experience the learning curve of dance all by myself without any witnesses, and that’s worth a lot! 🙂 hahahaha
You can login to your YouDance account anytime that it suits you, and all lessons are designed to be done with regular household supplies, making it easy to enjoy every class.
YouDance offers a FREE 14-day trial so you can try it out with the whole family and see how much fun it is. When you decide to join, use discount code enrichmentstudies22 to get 50% off the annual membership, OR 20% off the monthly membership. YouDance would make an awesome family gift for Christmas, and will be a welcome addition to the cold winter months when you need fresh and fun new things going on without having to venture outside. This discount code will be valid through the rest of 2022.
YouDance provided me with free access to their program for the purposes of reviewing their service, and sponsored this blog post and video. As always, my honest opinion is reflected here.
Busy homeschool parents know how challenging it can be to bring all the things together. You’ve got all the core subjects for all your kids, plus things like piano lessons and karate class, plus projects and field trips and checkup appointments and more. It can feel nearly impossible to keep it all straight and streamlined…until now!
Syllabird is an online homeschool planning system that was created by homeschoolers, for homeschoolers. Syllabird combines beautiful, modern design elements with all of the organizational elements AND flexibility that you need. Best of all, the interface is simple and intuitive, so even if you are not super tech savvy, you’ll be up and planning your school year pretty quickly.
In years gone by when I attempted to use various planning methods for our homeschool, one of the biggest missing elements was how to easily reorganize assignments if we needed to take a couple days off. The makers of Syllabird understand how things can change and flow in the life of a homeschool family, and they have built in ways to effortlessly reschedule an entire course, or to adjust assignments for a student that needs a different pace than anticipated, and more.
Syllabird works on computers, phones, and tablets, so you and your students can stay in touch about what their assignments are, and what has been done. Especially for families that are working on helping their kids have more independence with their school work, this is a terrific tool.
I love that with Syllabird you can set up a plan for your whole school year that will help support all of your best intentions. How many times have we purchased materials and planned to use them with our kids, but then kind of forgot that they were on the shelf? Syllabird solves this. No longer are you wasting your money on materials that you’ll forget to use.
The record-keeping is done for you! I have so many parents that ask me about things like keeping track of attendance, grades, and transcripts. Syllabird helps with that as well. You can see your child’s gradebook at a glance, and later this year they will be rolling out the ability to create transcripts! Terrific!
Free trial! Syllabird offers a terrific, no-fuss free trial. It only takes 2 clicks to set it up, with no credit card required. Go jump in and see how easy it is to use and how helpful it will be for you!
This post is sponsored by Syllabird. Review and opinions are my own honest thoughts about this product.
If you are looking for a reading and spelling approach that is time-tested, methodical, and provides a very high level of teacher training and support that will give you an excellent foundation as a home educator, you will LOVE The Phonics Road from Schola Publications.
The Phonics Road program uses a systematic approach over 4 years to build a firm foundation in the English language for kids ages 5-11. The materials are thorough, simple to use, and are super-powered by the daily video tutorial presented by Barbara Beers, who has been teaching since 1984. In the videos that I sampled I felt absolutely thrilled to know that this level of empowerment and training is available for home educators.
The Phonics Road series takes students through 4 years, helping them become confident spellers, excellent writers, enthusiastic readers, and proficient in composition. These programs utilize literary and composition activities, and include handwriting (print and cursive), vocabulary, grammar, and more. And if you want your children to learn Latin, you’ll be well-prepared to go on to The Latin Road after your children complete The Phonics Road!
I got to review The Phonics Road Level One, which is where all students begin, regardless of age or grade level. I really appreciated that the readers are all contained within a single book (so we don’t have 30 little booklets to keep track of!), and that the kids get to illustrate the stories. (So fun!) I like how this program combines the tried-and-true simple methods with the empowering videos that will make sure you never doubt what to do next or how to do it. I think any homeschool parent would find this program great for both their reading and spelling foundation, as well as gifting the parent with a greater skill set and awareness for teaching that will continue to benefit their children as they grow.
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