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College Prep Genius a Homeschooling6 Review

My daughter Annette was on pins and needles waiting for her College Prep Genius package. A few weeks before she was drooling over the books (yes, my daughter gets excited about stuff like this) so imagine her excitement when I told her we were given the opportunity to review the Comprehensive SAT Prep Collection – Sat Course which includes the Vocab Café Series!!! To say she was super excited is an understatement.
College Prep Genius a Homeschooling6 Review
Jean Burk has put together an amazing program to help our kids understand how to prepare and take the SAT. College Prep Genius is a complete SAT, PSAT/NMSQT prep program.

What your child(ren) will learn is test-taking techniques, how to find the reoccurring patterns in the SAT, writing a quality essay in 15 minutes, how to answer math in a timely manner, memorize acronyms as a memory aid for the material taught in the text, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Throughout the College Prep Genius course your child will learn to find and circle key words, cross out out and eliminate wrong answers, time management – how to make the most of their time, how to recognize ‘traps’, and how to answer questions quickly & accurately.

College Prep Genius is broken into 12 lesson
College Prep Genius
In this set you will receive:

4 DVD set include the 12 lessons that coordinate with the workbook. The DVDs also reference where information can be found in the College Prep Genius Textbook. After each lesson there is a corresponding homework.

Jean gives examples of problems and explains them step-by-step, perfect for visual learners. The DVDs covers much of the material from the text which is great for auditory learners.

The DVDs are taught by the author Jean Burk, so it’s like having her as your child’s personal college prep coach! She walks the student through the course - having them pause to answer questions in the workbook.

The Textbook covers everything that’s in the dvd and more. The textbook gives more detail with the test strategies it includes:

Part I: Introduction to the SAT
Part II: The Critical Reading Section
Part III: The Math Section
Part IV: The Writing Section
Part V: Scholarship Search
Part VI: Journal for Test Success
Appendix A: Prefixes
Appendix B: Math Terms
Appendix C: My Motivation Test 

The Textbook also has plenty of space for your child to write notes, circle, highlight, and really make their own. I know many times we want to reuse the same textbook with another child but I’d encourage you to let your child mark it up if it helps the child to retain and it’s a great way for them to quickly find information.

The Workbook corresponds with the textbook & DVDs. It’s consumable so you will need to purchase one for each child.

High School Prep Genius is also included in this package. I was blessed to have reviewed this a few years ago. You can read an in depth review HERE.
College Prep Genius
VocabCafé books help students easily learn SAT-level words while reading an original wholesome story.

I love that the books are clean reads meaning there isn’t foul language, sorcery, or sexual themes. Each book introduces 300 advanced words using a three-step approach: Definition, repetition, and reinforcement.

The 300 words are in bold font. The definition of the words are at the bottom of the page. I thought this was a great way to learn new words. What better way then to learn them while reading a good book.
Vocab Café is a set of 6 books:
  • Summer of Saint Nick
  • IM for Murder
  • Operation High school
  • Planet Exile
  • Highway to Hollywood
  • The Wandering Watkins
I read three of the books and enjoyed them all. The first book I read was Planet Exile. This book started off a bit slow but by the 3rd chapter I couldn’t wait to see what happened.

The Wandering Watkins and Summer of Saint Nick caught my interest from the start. I love how the characters learn life lessons.

The Summer of Saint Nick is a great book. The main character has a huge heart for others (even when the person is really mean towards him). This is a good read for teenagers (and adults!) a great reminder that sometime we need put our feeling aside to do the right thing. 

Annette has read Operation High School and IM Murder. The next book she wants to read is Summer of Saint Nick. She’s taking her time because of the Vocabulary words. She want to memorize some before moving on to another book.

She made vocabulary cards using the words from the Vocab Café books. She’ll get some of her brothers to play a game of memory. They have to match the word with the definition.
College Prep Genius
Using College Prep Genius at Homeschooling6: Like I mentioned, Annette was really excited to help me review this program.

Once we found out that we were going to review College Prep Genius we purchased the recommended SAT book: The Official SAT Study Guide. College Prep Genius suggest taking a SAT test at home so you have something to gauge your progress with.

When our box full of goodies arrived she was ready to go. We watched the first few lessons together but now Annette is doing most of the lessons independently.

She is working a bit slower than intended, taking about a week and a half to complete one lesson. She did get a little stressed with a few of the assignments. Mainly the vocabulary words. She felt like she had to memorize everything before moving on. She was also feeling really burned out and overwhelmed with all the high school stuff and her extra curricular activities she had going on. 

I told her it’s okay to move on without having memorized all the acronyms and vocabulary words because she will repeat the course. This took a huge weight off her shoulders.

She spends about two hours a week (or more) studying for the SAT. This includes watching the DVD, completing her assignment, studying vocabulary words, and memorizing acronyms, etc.
College Prep Genius a Homeschooling6 Review
Final thoughts: I am so thankful we were blessed to review College Prep Genius. Annette is learning tons of strategies to help her feel confident with taking the SAT next year.

She really likes the program and plans to complete it yearly. I also have plans to have Caleb start the program in January.

I would say we are very happy with College Prep Genius and I’d definitely recommend this to friends and family. It really is a neat course and Annette loves all that she is learning from it!

Homeschooling Totally Different This Year

This year as you may all know, I have fallen in love with The Thinking Tree Journals and Dyslexia Games.

Brent 8th, Ethan 7th, and Lance 5th will use the journals this year. All a little differently and I’ll blog our Thinking Tree journey :)
Homeschooling The Thinking Tree Way
As the year progresses and we use different journals the way we use them will change.

Currently all three kiddos are completing 10 pages a day (4 hours of work) but many of the newer journals (60 Day Journals) suggest 5-6 pages (2 hours of work), meaning I’ll start adding some of the school books that I purchased this year.

I’ll switch things up! My gears are still turning and I’m trying to figure out how to fit more structure in our “fun-schooling” days and keep it delight-directed too! 
I can’t wait for Lance to get started with this book! (it’s not in the picture above)
And for Brent I still need to purchase one of the journals that Sarah recently made for 6th-8th grades. These books have copywork provided for the child and pages for them to choose their own copywork.
There’s also research pages and lots of fun pages that are not in the younger journals. I can’t wait to have Brent and soon Ethan use them.

I might mix and match our journals too! Meaning with Ethan, he will work in his Fun-Schooling journal a few days a week and use another journal for 3 days a week!

So stay tuned to see how we homeschool The Thinking Tree Way which should be interesting considering how I’m a school-at-home type of homeschooler.

I’m really excited to have some Delight-Directed Homeschooling going on here at Homeschooling6!

Homeschooling Thursday

These pages are from Brent’s journal.
These pages are from the The Eclectic Do-it-Yourself Homeschooling Journal (the one with the space cover).
All my boys think about it army and war. Ack, where’s the peaceful scenes.
The Thinking Tree
I think the verse is from his AWANA verse.
The Thinking Tree
Art & Logic page. I love these kind of pages. I’d love a whole journal of just these types of pages!
The Thinking Tree
Look who I found reading a book!
The Thinking Tree
When I saw him there I had him read out loud to me while I made lunch.
The Thinking Tree
When he’s done reading he will draw a picture in one of the Reading Time boxes.
I am so impressed with his penmanship. He was going to write his words with marker but I told him he needs to use either a pen or pencil.
The Thinking Tree
I’m just so impressed with the way he formed the letters. This is one of his neatest pages yet.
The Thinking Tree
Here’s a picture from yesterday (10/28/15). I pointed out to Lance that the words trailers, tours, wheelers, etc. should not have capital letters in the middle of the words.
The Thinking Tree
I did praise him for his neat penmanship and told him I was really impressed with the way he formed the letters in feeling. I encouraged him to write words like that (not using capitals unless it’s a proper noun or the beginning of a sentence).
The Thinking Tree
This page is from day two of using The Thinking Tree journals and I believe a little over a week with using Dyslexia Games. He’s improved a lot.
Dyslexia Games Improvement

Homeschooling6 Review: Dyslexia Games

Dyslexia Games a Homeschooling6 Review
I’m really excited to share this next review with you all. Sarah Janisse Brown from Dyslexia Games (The Thinking Tree) sent me via pdf Series B & C.

Sarah is a homeschooling mom of 10. She is also a Dyslexic, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome specialist. She’s not only the creator of Dyslexia Games but also the Homeschooling Journals!

Some of her children have a beautiful gift called Dyslexia. This is what I love about Sarah, she has taught me that dyslexia is something beautiful. People with Dyslexia have wonderful minds.
A Homeschooling6 Review
Dyslexia runs in my family and my husband’s family too. Some family members have severe dyslexia but for the sake of their privacy I won’t go into that.

I will say I struggled a lot in school with reading and math. Two major subjects. School was hard! I didn’t like it because I felt dumb. I feared being called on to read or do a math problem out loud. When the teacher started around the room I would always count how many students before me and figure out which reading passage I was going to have to read. My palms would sweat, my face would become read, and it was horribly embarrassing.

I haven’t been diagnosed or tested but as an adult I have often felt that I have some form of dyslexia. With some of my kids I have felt the same way. Some have struggles with reading, spelling, and math. I have read and read and researched and although we haven’t tested any of the kids  I do see signs.

I have blogged in the past of the struggles and challenges with reading, spelling, and math. I have blogged my suspicions that I have suspected my kids may have some unique challenges but this is the first time I've actually put names: Asperger Syndrome, Dyslexia, and Working Memory  to what I think has contributed to some of the struggles we’ve faced.
Dyslexia Games
Dyslexia Games and what Sarah also calls Brain Training Therapy helps to strengthen the right side of the brain. Research has shown that when a non dyslexia student learns to read they use the left side of their brain. When a dyslexic student is learning to read they are using their right side.

Therefor the right side of the brain can and must be trained. One way to do this is using Dyslexia Games. Sarah’s uses art, logic, 3D images, and creative thinking to train the brain. The fun exercises is actually training bot sides of the amazing brain.

Series C consist of 8 workbooks to be completed in order. It is suggested that your child complete 3-4 pages a day. Sarah also recommends having your child stop his current Language Arts studies. This way your child will not be stressing with reading, writing, and spelling. They can relax while working through Dyslexia Games. The program takes about 3-4 months (depending on how many pages your child does a day). This makes it a great summer or winter break program, although it can be done anytime of the year.
Dyslexia Games
Book 1- Brain Food: Art Games, puzzles & Mystery Patterns. 30 fun lessons intriguing mind game that sharpen the skills necessary for success in reading, writing, and math!

This book is a lot of fun. As your child is completing puzzles and mystery patterns (which I enjoyed as well) they are really learning how to form letters, correct reversals, and are having fun with it as well. It’s not ‘schoolwork’ but fun games for them.

Little does your child know he’s learning to develop symbol recognition, tracking & thinking skills, and writing skills (pretty awesome).
Dyslexia Games
Book 2 – I.Q. Challenge: Mind Games, Puzzles, and Mysteries. 30 Games, mind teasers to boost intelligence and build a solid foundation for reading, writing, and math.

This book is neat in that it is having the child make lines and patterns after the alphabet but sometimes they are kind of hidden. The kiddos are having fun practicing forming letters and numbers through art. Sarah has done a wonderful job with incorporating symbols, numbers, and letters into the games.

And your child is developing problem solving skills, concentration, intelligence, logic tracking skills, math and memory skills while tapping into the creative area of the child's mind.
Dyslexia Games
Book 3 – Practice Pages 2 (Practice Pages 1 is in Series A) this book has 30 writing worksheets for kids who would rather be climbing trees (yup, sounds familiar!).

After your child has been practicing making slants, squiggles, and drawing cool stuff in the first two books they are ready to practice writing letters. This book does that in a fun non overwhelming way. Each picture has a cute smiley frog to encourage your student to do their best with writing those letters.

Book 4 – Word Hunt 2 (Word Hunt 1 is included in Series A). This book is a fun way for your child to discover how to read and spell. These fun pages have your child hunting around the house for words. Some pages have them find 3 letter words, 4 letter words, and up to 8 letter words.

Book 5 – Animal Art: Mind Training Games for Children Who Love Art and Animals. Your child will develop reading and writing skills while learning to draw animals! About every other page a puzzle pattern is included at the bottom of the page.

Book 6 – Animal Talk: Sweet & Silly Animal Poems, Drawing Games, and Spelling Lessons. In this book you will read a short, sweet poem. Then read it again but this time have the child read back to you. Read the poem a third time together, next see if your child can read it alone.
Dyslexia Games
See, again, how the program is gradually having the child write and read but in a gentle and non threatening way. No phonics or memorizing rules. Just fun brain activating exercises.

Your child is learning tracking skills, memory skills, word recognition and spelling while tapping into the creative area of the child’s mind.

Book 7 – Silly Animal Rhymes: Add your own words to make a silly story even funnier! In the last book your child was adding words that were already given to them. This book has your child thinking of their own words. If your child is not ready for creative writing he can always fill in the missing words instead.

On one page is the story for you to read with child. On the second page is ‘add your own words and pictures to make a silly poem’.

Included is a list of words (nouns, verbs, adjectives) for your child to choose from if he needs help.

Book 8 – Creative Copywork: Learn to write well by copying familiar Rhymes. 45 fun lessons are in this book. Your child will copy fun and familiar rhymes.

Here’s what you will do in this book:
1. Read each poem with your child twice.
2. Study the picture together.
3. On the next page the child will fill in missing words
4. The last exercise has your child copying a section of the poem

DyslexiaGames.com review
Using Dyslexia Games at Homeschooling6: I am using Dyslexia Games with my 5 boys. Ethan and Lance are going on five weeks.

At the time of this review Lance is completing Book 3. Ethan is using two books 4 & 5. The workbooks are suppose to be completed in order. Book 4 is where he’s hunting for words so instead of doing 3 pages of writing words we decided to have him complete 2 pages of Animal Art and 1 page from the Word Hunt 2 book.

Both boys are enjoying Dyslexia Games. We have the pdf format so I print the pages for the boys and one for myself as well. When the boys were both in Book 1 & 2 we would do the pages together. I’d put some classical music on and we’d do our “Brain Games”.
Dyslexia Games
Now that the boys are in different books they pretty much do them on their own. I still print some pages for myself too and work on them when I have a chance.

My husband would rather them not stop their regular schoolwork. Thankfully Sarah has some wonderful journals that we are using. I’m keeping the whole Language Arts thing low-key right now.

I want both boys to complete Series B & C and I’m even thinking of having Lance do Series A. The samples look great and I think it would be good extra practice.

I’m excited to see how the boys improve with reading, spelling, and writing. Lance is already showing progress with writing and forming letters. Before Dyslexia Games his writing was big and his words would float above the line.
Dyslexia Games
Now (unless he’s rushing) his name is on the line and he’s only using one capital letter in his name (the beginning of course). So even though his writing is not what most would expect from a 5th grader it is progress and I am hopeful that as he continues with Dyslexia Games his penmanship will improve.

You can find Dyslexia Games on Facebook and to see how Sarah teaches and uses Dyslexia Games, watch some fun videos she put together (these videos are showing pages from Series A).


The Thinking Tree Homeschool & Other Fun School

This post contains affiliate links.

Ozobot arrived at our house.
I took these photos outside thinking I would get a better picture of the little guy and his accessories but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

My pictures came out again, with a blue tint.
I am reviewing this for Academics’ Choice. I thought Brent and Josh can work on this one together.
Lance is really liking this and literally played with it for an hour.
I found Lance in the kitchen with Little Bot.
What boy doesn’t like a robot.
The Thinking Tree
We also did some Grapevine Studies. Can you guess what we studied?
The Thinking Tree
I forgot to take pictures of the boys’ work (again), so much going on. The life of a blogger means you always have to have your camera near by, hehe.

And of course the kiddos completed some journal pages from The Thinking Tree.
The Thinking Tree
Ethan’s journal.
The Thinking Tree
Ethan is also working through Animal Art from Dyslexia Games Series B.
Hey, he didn’t write ‘food’ on the box. I’ll have to point that out to him.
Dyslexia Games
Lance’s journal.
His writing is improving, I’m so happy! Some are misspelled like 'chickens' and I do see some reversals, but overall his writing is improving. I did show him where he made mistakes.
At the moment I'm not having him rewrite his mistakes. 
Once he finishes Dyslexia Games - Word Hunt I'll become more strict with having him copy the words correctly (I'm trying to keep writing stress low). He asked if he could find some words that were less than 8 letters and I was fine with that. 

Again, once we complete Dyslexia Games I'll expect him to be more accurate and hopefully as he completes DG he'll improve on his own.

The page below is asking if he’d like this job. He put maybe.
I need to have Lance go back and write the title and page number. My boys are always forgetting to do this.
The Thinking Tree
I think I’ve selected the journals that I want Lance to complete this school year.
The Thinking Tree
Some of the journals are the 60 day plan which means instead of 4 hours to complete it takes only 2 hours.
The Thinking Tree
On the days that he has less of The Thinking Tree school he’ll do some of his regular school.

Right now my main goal with Lance is to get him through Dyslexia Games Series B & C, so I don’t want to overwhelm him with a lot of book-work. With the journals he does to a fair amount of writing but it’s not stressful writing.

I’m still deciding which journals to use with Ethan. I do know he wants to use the Library Based Curriculum Journal too.
Library Based Homeschooling
After he completes Library Based Curriculum Journal for Boys. I think I am going to purchase one of the journals that’s geared toward 7-8th grade students.
These journals are not for mama  but I love them anyway.
Matching Thinking Tree Books
Matching books. One is a Journal and the other is a (aff link) Plan Book!