Our Family

Our Family

Friday, June 21, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: Jump In, 2nd Edition Midddle School Composition



One of the hardest subjects for me to choose curriculum for my boys is language arts, especially when they passed the elementary years.  One of the skills we want them to have is to be able to communicate effectively, and writing is a big part of that.  Writing is not their favorite thing to do and learning difficulties make it even more challenging. As we were finishing up our curriculum for the 2018/2019 school year I started looking for ideas for next year.  I had used other products from Writing with Sharon Watson with my older boys and was very excited to see that her Middle School Composition curriculum had been recently updated.  Then I discovered it was an upcoming review item and I was thrilled to be chosen to review Jump In, 2nd Edition.  



Jump In, 2nd Edition  is a writing course for middle school students in grades 5-8.  The course contains 98 daily lessons called skills, plus an additional 19 skills that are the assignments and checklists.  The lessons vary in length from 5-20 minutes. Students will learn about constructing a paragraph, topic sentences and main ideas.  They will learn to write persuasive essays, exposition including how to and compare and contrast paragraphs, descriptive essays, narration, and poetry. The course can be completed in one year or spread out over two or three years.  Different word counts are listed for each assignment for more experienced writers. 

There are two components to Jump In, 2nd Edition:

Teacher's Guide ($10) : This book is a 115 page paperback book and contains everything the teacher needs for the course including: suggested schedules, Teacher's Backpack with information to help your students along the way, Sample Essays with suggestions on how to grade, 10 Minute Writing Plunges and guidelines, Answer Keys for questions asked in the book, Essay Assignments and Suggested Writing Schedules, and Grading Grids for all of the assignments.

Student Guide ($40): This book is a 286 page paperback book.  It is consumable and you will need one for each student taking the course.  Each lesson has sections for the student to read and then spaces for them to record answers to questions they are asked.  Essay assignments and suggested writing schedules are also in the book. Checklists are included for writing assignments so they can check off tasks as they complete them and evaluate their assignments after they complete them.

Digital versions of the Student and Teacher's Guide are also available.  The Student Guide is $35 for the digital version and the Teacher's Guide is $8.

I have been using Jump In, 2nd Edition  with my 13 year old son who just finished the 7th grade.  Writing is very difficult for him.  He has dyslexia which makes writing and spelling a very big challenge and he also has a very hard time coming up with topics to write about.  He struggles with organizing his thoughts about topics and getting them down on paper.

We dived in to Jump In, 2nd Edition  a few weeks ago. He hasn't complained one time about the assignments because they are short and to the point.  Plenty of space is given in the book for the student to write down their answers. Sharon Watson writes the text to the student in a conversational tone that they can relate to and adds bits of humor throughout.  Anthony has a very interesting sense of humor and with the book being written in the tone that it is it has made him feel like that is ok for him to use too.  When brainstorming the advantages of owning a pet in the Get Your Feet Wet section one of his was: "Protection: Anteaters eat termites." ( how many people do you know that own anteaters?)

I love the examples that are given in the books, they are very kid friendly, and the way the lessons are broken down.  Reluctant writers wont feel like they are working forever and those that love writing can complete the assignments and move on if they want to.


I like the way the lessons build up to the writing assignment  preparing the student for what they will be writing.  Several options are given for each assignment.  This is great for reluctant writers!  I am not focusing on assignment length right now, just working through the assignments in the book and organizing thoughts to get them down on paper.  Here is a first draft on an opinion piece of why pizza is the best food ever.

I think the writing plunges are a fantastic idea.  These are split up into four weeks over each month of the school year.  They are designed to be given to your student on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday writing for just 10 minutes.  Then they can choose their favorite and hand it in for a grade or you can skip that part and just use it for writing practice.  You can also choose to skip these on days they have a lot of writing they are already doing.   

I LOVE the checklists for the students to break down the writing assignment and to take a look back at their work.  There's something about checking off a little box that can make you feel so accomplished and the checklist gives students great ideas of what to look for in their writing.

From a teaching standpoint, Jump In, 2nd Edition  is very easy to use.  The teaching part is done for you.  The Teacher's Guide has a lot of helpful information and examples for grading your child's work.  The grading grids for each assignment is a wonderful tool for teachers.

We will be taking a summer break until Mid-August, but I like Jump In, 2nd Edition  so much that I am going to purchase a second book to use with one of my other boys who will be going into 7th grade.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Homeschool Crew Review: The Kingdom Code



A few months ago, my children had an opportunity to attend a half day Entrepreneur Camp.  They were excited about what they learned there and wanted to learn more so they would be able to start a business of their own.  I was trying to think of a way to create a class to do at home when we were offered an opportunity to use and review  The Complete Starter Kit from The Kingdom Code.

 The Kingdom Code is a hands on program that teaches children in grades 3-6 money management and how to create and run a business.  It is Biblically based curriculum that helps children have a good attitude, positive work ethic, and confidence.  The class is designed to be used for 45 minutes twice a week for 34 weeks but this schedule is only a suggestion, the pacing and scheduling is very flexible.


For our review we received The Complete Starter Kit.  This kit includes:


Textbook- The textbook is a 244 page full color spiral bound book.  This book has the 27 lessons with  graphics,  photos, and text.  The course has a medieval theme that carries through the text.  The course focuses on how to be an entrepreneur but the lessons also contain information on history, Bible, economics, math, life skills, and budgeting.




Teacher's Guide- This is a 131 page pack of loose leaf hole punched papers that contain the step by step teaching instructions.  The 27 lessons in the course are split up into 68 teaching days with the idea of completing 2 days per week. Answers for the worksheets and activity pages are also found in the Teacher's Guide.

Student Packet- The student packet contains all of the consumable materials to the program.  It has a worksheet for each lesson to reinforce what has been taught, TKC Treasure Map to mark your progress through the course, flashcards with all of the vocabulary words taught in the course, three 8.5x11 posters, 2 pages of stickers, and KCK Receipt Book to keep a record of customer's payments.




We also received

The Kingdom Code Coloring Book - A coloring book to use with younger children (or older children who like to color) that has 32 pages of knights, Bible verses, and the JOEYS budget (Jesus, Others, Education, You, and Savings.)

Jr. KCK Budget Kit- This kit is for younger children and contains one poster, one sheet of JOEYS stickers, 6 coloring book pages, KCK Budget Percentage Page, and instructions to make your budget binder.

Other items you will need to use The Kingdom Code Curriculum include: 2 one inch 3 rind binders, set of divider tabs, folder with brads and pockets, 6 zippered pencil pouches, and a container (like a ziplock bag) to hold your flashcards.

Each lessons follows a similar format.  You have your proclamation which is an important statement recommended to be said out loud such as , " My heart plans my way, but the Lord directs my path."  Then the Check Your Path section tells you which worksheet you will need to answer questions about the lesson.  The Quest for the Clue section gives information on what the theme and goals of the lesson will be.  The length of this reading varies but all of them end with the clue which will be something like, " To be successful, KCK's know their strengths, study the competition, and have a winning strategy!"  Then we have the Code of Honor, which teaches the skill of the lesson with a character code.  Treasure Seeking students learn and practice skills.  At the end of this section they find their "treasure." KCK's use common sense, knowledge, God's wisdom, and experience to make good decisions."  Next you find the On Your Own section with additional activities and projects.  To wrap up each lesson you will find The Kingdom Keys which reviews the lesson using Key to the Lesson, Key Ideas, and Key terms.  Following this there is a congratulations page and Bonus Code Work activities.  There are other additional components sprinkled throughout the curriculum such as history highlights and Letters from Aunt Jimmi.

I have been using The Kingdom Code with my 8,10, 12 and 14 year olds 1-2 days per week over the last several weeks.  I read the lesson from the text aloud to all of the children and they completed the activities and worksheets.  We live in a very rural area (our neighbors are cows) around 20 minutes from town so starting some of the typical service businesses for children my children's ages is not very practical for us.  But, they are working very hard on some business plans and ideas.  My daughter Lily plays piano and during the school year helps to accompany a Children's Choir at our church and makes a little bit of money with this.  She hopes to expand this by teaching introductory lessons to children with less experience then she has.  She also was gifted recently with an embroidery machine and is using the knowledge she has gained by working through The Kingdom Code to make plans for a future embroidery business.  My children also raise animals for 4 H .  We currently have chickens, rabbits, goats, and a pig.  To start their own business here at our family farm, my children have started building their flock and herds and breeding to sell their animals.  They came up with several other business ideas over the course of the last few weeks and we have had many conversations about the law of supply and demand especially the part where you shouldn't build a business around things that people are not interested in buying.

The children and I have enjoyed going through the lessons in The Kingdom Code.  I love that the curriculum is Biblically based and includes great character traits and Bible verses.  I love the vocabulary that is included in the course.  I think it has given the children a better introduction to economics then I got in high school.  I love the variety of activities and steps they take to build and maintain their business.  One of our favorite parts have been the historical information that is included.  Did you know a man named Mr. Goodnight and his partner Oliver Loving took cattle 600 miles to sell beef in a new market in the 1800s?   I also loved that it talked about some business failures and having the courage to start over again when you do fail. 

The Kingdom Code can be used with the entire family and a wide range of ages.  You will have to make some adjustments depending on the ages of your children.  The information that is presented is fantastic even for older children but you may have to make some changes in how it is presented because it is geared for children younger then 6th grade. 

I love the textbook.  From a practical standpoint it is spiral bound and lies flat!  It is beautiful and sturdy.  The lessons flow very well from one step to the next and I love the Kingdom Keys wrap up at the end of each lesson going over the highlights of the lessons and reviewing the vocabulary.

The Kingdom Code is offering a coupon for 10 percent off of their products purchased online!  Use code 10TKC32.

To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Our Week in Review (June 10th-16th)

We were thankful for cool weather this week and no rain until Sunday night.

Monday we had Liam whole his mama went to the doctor.  It was a beautiful day and we played outside for most of it.



He was not impressed with the pig!


Tuesday Nick and Alex headed to Six Flags early in the morning.  The rest of us went to the Eh House for the Jam and Jelly workshop.  We made strawberry freezer jam, blueberry jam, and blackberry jam.











Wednesday Art and I headed to Little Rock with Nick and Alex and an extra teenager that needed a ride.  It was the first day of 4 H Teen Leader Conference.  We dropped the kids off and hung around town for a few hours.  Nicholas was chosen as an Arkansas Teen Star this year!  and we were invited to the Teen Star Banquet and Awards Ceremony.







Thursday Lily and Emmie had a painting class and a music lesson and we kept Liam while his mama was at work. 







Friday morning we had to go back to pick up the boys from Little Rock so we left  early to spend two hours at the zoo before we had to get them.  It a two hour drive so we left at 7 so we could be there as soon as it opened.  We had to pick up the boys at 11:30.  It was really nice getting there right at 9.  It was not crowded and the weather was perfect.  We did have to rush a bit because of the time limit and I told the children we could not see everything this time and some things were blocked off because of updates they are making but it was a nice visit.











Saturday Liam had his birthday party.  He will be two this week! 




I hope you had a great week!  Happy Homeschooling!