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Little House Coloring BOOK!

Look what I found! I'm so excited but it will have to wait until after CHRISTmas for me to get it 😍
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Quiet Time

Quiet time at the cabin. Just hubby and me. It gave me time to ponder what I'm thankful for.
Thinking Tree Journal
It was a nice weekend getaway celebrating our 20th Anniversary. Hard to believe we've been married for 20 amazing and wonderful years.

Of course I brought more of my Thinking Tree journals. 
Thinking Tree Journals

Thinking Tree Journals

Flip to Fun-Schooling for High School using the Thinking Tree!!!

I'm so excited my daughter Annette is flipping to Fun-Schooling using the Thinking Tree journals and books.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure.
She has picked some of the more supplemental journals to use with Heart of Dakota. Right now she's still finishing some subjects from Hearts Through Him High School: World History. Once done which she estimates around CHRISTmas time she'll move onto U.S. History 1 also from Heart of Dakota.

Annette has picked out several but for this post I'll concentrate with the one she's using most right now. Once she starts U.S. History 1 she might not use the 10 Subject Portfolio very much. The reason she picked it for now is she LOVES the history pages. We are praying that Sarah will create the History Handbook and Portfolio which will be similar to the Science Handbook and Portfolio by the time she starts U.S. History 1.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
What she is doing is loosely using the Heart of Dakota schedule. She reads the through People, Places, & Events World History text and because Annette is a what I call "digger" because she loves to dig deeper in her studies she reads from, From Adam to Us or the Mystery of History series. Now my younger boys, they (at their ages now, 16, 15, 13, & 12) just read the text, hurry and write something and move on (sad I know, sniff, sniff).
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
In fact I originally purchased the Portfolios for my boys but because they are "hurry-ers" ~ meaning they just want to get it done they work better using the Curriculum Journals.

Hey, that picture of the lady below looks familiar, bwahahaha. Funny. I looked at it and thought, hey, that looks like Hillary Clinton. I think it's great that Annette was listening to what Mrs. Hillary, President Obama, and President Elect Donald Trump were saying after the election and recorded it in her portfolio.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
Annette loves the Who? What? When? Where? pages and has almost completed all the History pages in this portfolio so she may use the pages from the Business & Technology section or another section within the portfolio to complete the rest of her World History studies.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
 She is also using the Literature section. Sometimes she'll do a character study or a character comparison. Other times she'll write a written narration. Then again she'll answer questions from her Heart of Dakota program but answer in written format instead of directly answering the question.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
 I love how she has really made this work for her. She takes her time writing and illustrating what she has learned.
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree
This is one way we are using the Thinking Tree's 10 Subject Portfolio with a high schooler. The 10 Subject Portfolio was originally created for the younger students (but all ages/grades can use it). Annette chose this one over the 12 Subject Portfolio because she noticed it has more History pages.

Blast Off to Reading (Review)

Blast of to Reading by Reading Specialist of Long Island uses 50 Orton-Gillingham based lessons for struggling readers and those with dyslexia.
The recommended age is 7-13. This is in full color. If you have an older child you may want to try this one. It has less color for a more "mature" look. I have a video at the bottom of this review comparing the two.

This phonics program is meant for the parent to be involved and work with the child. It is not a hand-to-your child to complete on their own type workbook.
Blast of to Reading lessons consist of 2-4 pages sometimes 5 depending on the lesson. Each lesson usually consist of a new topic. Your child will review a list of words and sentences and then complete some exercises.

Starting with lesson three at the end of the lesson you are instructed to do dictation. All the dictation passages can be downloaded and printed at the Reading Specialist of Long Island website. What's neat is it's all on audio as well, so you can simply hit play!
Although it is suggested to work at your child's pace for 30-45 minutes, the lesson is not meant to be completed in one sitting. With that said, if your child is older like mine (12 years) it is okay and will happen. Especially with the short two page lessons. You know your child and know what's best the main thing is to work at their pace.
Not all of the 30-40 minutes will be in the book. You are encouraged to play games with your child all provided for free at Blast off to Reading or you may purchase physical games as well. Choose online games or download for print-at-home games like the Monster Phonics card game.

Flash cards are free too! You can purchase a set as well but there are more in the FREE version. I myself prefer to purchase and did so.
This is a complete reading program for your child so again, go at your child's pace. If he needs to spend time parked at a lesson that's okay. Play the fun games and let him enjoy the process of learning to read.

The Blast off to Reading book includes the instructions at the beginning of the book. This program is meant for a variety of ages, if you have an older student there are more word lists in the back of the book.

Several features that I would love to see is an answer key and if the book used the Dyslexie Font. The Answer Key can be found on their website which you can download.

Take a peek at the video below to compare the two books and see the pages. The Blast off to Reading website has a lot of sample pages as well.

My Final thoughts: A great value for what you receive and the company is very generous with offering free online games. Usually you need a code to access the extras or have to pay for them so I thought it was just super that you don't need to pay extra for those.

The pages are fun but not overwhelming. I know some kids get distracted with colorful pages, so this program has the right mix. Fun but yet it doesn't take over the pages.

Being an Example ~Even When You Feel Like the Kids Don't See

I am loving my Pocket Size Journals from The Thinking Tree. This is the way I would have loved to been homeschooled. I tell the kiddos that when I'm all done homeschooling them~ I'm going to go back-to-school Thinking Tree style, hehe.
I actually do use them. Right now I'm loving the these two! I can easily fit them in my purse and when waiting in line or sitting at the coffee shop I can work on a coloring page or writing.
 For the Music Time box I put in some lyrics to a song I was listening to and the title went int the audio book box. Sometimes I listen to an audio book but usually it's music. With your kids you can use that for podcast too. I know my older kiddos listen to a lot of podcast on real-estate and investing.
I didn't actually watch a tutorial. I did watch a video of my son who is away at ALERT International, so I wrote about that. Science was funny. On our way to Annette's soccer game Lance had to use a barf bag. Later after the soccer game on the way home, Annette explained how motion sickness happens, so later that day I recorded.
And of course I absolutely love Dyslexia Games. The Creative Journaling page I wrote things that happened that day.

I also filled out the Reading Time page but instead of writing about what I read I took my journal to church and wrote notes. 

I know people want to see kids filling out the pages but I have fun using them too. I can see so many opportunities for kids using Sarah's method of learning. I can see how our kiddos can really dig into the pages of the journals and learn in a whole new way.

My kids listen to so many audio books, the watch many tutorials, and listen to all kinds of podcast with their dad on real-estate, investing, and running a business. They read about entrepreneurs and how they became successful They read about real people and real possibilities. These are things that you DON'T see in our boxed curriculum but it's what our children need to learn.

One of the problems is that there are so many guidelines in the state of subjects the kids need to do in order to graduate. Or we are so conditioned with how 'school' should look like that it's hard to envision Fun-Schooling.
That's where Sarah's book come in and help guide mom and the kids. Many people don't understand the concept or method of it. They want answer keys and teacher manuals. The beauty of The Thinking Tree is to let your child explore, create, and use the journals to write what they are learning.

Now if you have boys like mine who are creative with LEGOS, Minecraft, Stop Motion, and anything without a pencil and don't like to read, well that does complicate things some. Especially for a mom who loves Sarah's journals. 

With my boys although they do a lot of learning on their own via audio books, podcast, and just having fun outside, I do have to lug the boxed curricula. Yes, this mom picks out many of the books.

My kids can watch something like Undercover Boss, learn something from the episode but not write about it, so again, they ARE learning but yeah, I have tell them, "Hey, kids, use this and write something on your Film Study page."
My boys journals are not the awe and ooh kind of pages but when they are done with a journal I still have fun looking through it and seeing what they were reading and learning. Now it's not "picture" perfect and yes sometimes I cringe at their work (not in front of them of course) but it is what it is and I continue to encourage them with my journal pages.

Color My Eyes Trace My Face Autism Spectrum Coloring Book by The Thinking Tree (Review)

This next book I'm about to share from The Thinking Tree is very near and dear to my heart because it's one that I will use with Lance. It's a pocket sized coloring and activity book, for all ages, with black and white pictures.
Color My Eyes Trace My Face by The Thinking Tree (Review)
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my DISCLOSURE.

Did you know Sarah the author and creator of Dyslexia Games and The Thinking Tree publications is dyslexic and has Asperger's Syndrome? Yup, this amazingly talented woman has Asperger's.

When Sarah was around 14 years old she modeled for a popular teen magazine. It was during this time that she had to study faces and became obsessed with peoples eyes. While training to be a model Sarah had to learn how to walk into a room, make eye contact, and act. At first this was very hard but through time it became easier.

Sarah noticed that she was becoming comfortable with looking at peoples faces but even more amazing was she began to understand what sympathy felt like.

When a child (or adult) looks into the eyes of a person it's like looking into the depth of  their soul. They see so much emotions and it's all mixed up. Sarah helped me understand this about Lance. When I asked Lance about looking into my eyes or anyone's eyes, what did he see or how did it make him feel. He said it was freaky. That's his word for it and he doesn't like it.

So as you can see, I'm really excited about this Autism/Asperger's Therapy Book.

Autism Spectrum Coloring Book will have your child study 60 faces of people and animals.

Autism Spectrum Coloring & Activity Book by The Thinking Tree
Sarah included faces of animals because it might be easier to start with the eyes of an animal. Your child can skip around in the book and choose the faces he would like to study.
Autism Spectrum Coloring & Activity Book by The Thinking Tree
It was through overcoming the fear of eye contact that Sarah was able to overcome other problems of Asperger's.
Autism Spectrum Coloring & Activity Book by The Thinking Tree
Once your child is able to feel safe making eye contact he will be able to understand and connect with others.
Autism Spectrum Coloring & Activity Book by The Thinking Tree
The person using this book should look at the face and consider how the person or animal is feeling.
Color My Eyes Trace My Face Autism Spectrum Coloring Book
 They will then color the eyes in order to become more comfortable with eye contact.
Color My Eyes Trace My Face Autism Spectrum Coloring Book
For each face the person will also complete an activity page. If using this with a child don't feel like they have to complete everything in one sitting. If you need to only do some and have the child come back later to finish.
Color My Eyes Trace My Face Autism Spectrum Coloring Book
Questions: What color are my eyes? ~ Can you trace my face? ~ Can you guess what I'm thinking? and then the person will color the face that shows how they feel. At the very bottom right corner there is a face that says, "Draw Me!"
Color My Eyes Trace My Face Autism Spectrum Coloring Book
I love that the book includes face of children with special needs.
This book helps the user to analyze and experience facial expressions, emotions, and feelings in a very logical and artistic way.
The goal is to help the person using Color My Eyes Trace My Face to become interested in the human face as well as the feeling of others.
 This book includes pictures of various ages, races, emotions, and feelings. There are family members laughing together showing love for each other.
 If using Color My Eyes Trace My Face with your child you will want to discuss the emotions and moods of the people (and animals) in the book. Make the same expressions with each other.
The brain is amazing! By using this powerful, pocket size book that taps into the user's natural curiosity while reprogramming the brain to be able to develop a more natural perception of social interaction and sympathy. Wow, what an amazing God we have that He created our brains to respond and even reprogram itself to things like Eye Contact Therapy!
 How is this guy feeling? What expression best describes him? Can you make the same face as the by in this picture?

Sarah has added at least eight pictures from her personal photo album! Search and see if you can find her husband Josh and some of her children.
The Thinking Tree by Sarah Janisse Brown
Sarah made Eye Contact Therapy is an important activity in her home because some of her own children showed many signs of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome at a young age. At this point most people would never believe that these children started off strongly with Autistic behaviors. Once they became interested in faces, everything changed.

Can you see why I'm so excited about this book? I truly believe it's going to help many people on the autism spectrum. 
Thank you Sarah Janisse Brown.

Peek inside!

The Blizzard of 1944 a Thinking Tree Reader (Review)

The Blizzard of 1944 - The Night God Reached Down From Heaven 
Dyslexie Readers Level C
This Post may contain affiliate links. Please see my DISCLOSURE.

The Thinking Tree - True Stories to Light the Way

The Thinking Tree's first reader!!!!

If using Dyslexia Games  it is suggested to use after completing Series C or if your child is reading at a 4th grade level then your child is ready for this book.

This happened in Wichita Falls Texas during the worst blizzard on record!
 I absolutely love that it is in the Dyslexie Font. What a dream come true. A reader made especially for the dyslexic child
 The illustrations are beautiful!
 I love the story. The main character Dorothy shows her love for her family, respect for her parents, and determination. Something a lot of young ones are missing these days.

I see a lot of kids complaining about taking care of younger siblings these days. Saying it's not fair. Dorothy is a good example of not complaining about it and going way above and beyond as they say. She goes out in one of the worst blizzards to get her siblings.
What I like about this reader is the author is telling the story about the worst blizzard and picking up her siblings from daycare but sprinkled throughout the story are little 'flash-back' stories. As she walking through the snow she hears the dimes in her pocket jingle which reminds her of the story about how she got them.
At the end of the book are some discussion questions and a page for your child to make her or his own illustration.

This is based on a TRUE story. There really is a Dorothyy and I'm glad she has shared glimpses of her life with us. The stories are truly a treasure.

This is a heart warming story of a family of faith and love for each other. I look forward to more.

Peek inside!