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The Thinking Tree Spelling Books

Learning how to spell doesn't have to be boring when you're using The Thinking Tree spelling books!

I know a lot of mamas are wondering when to use them. Of course, you can use them anytime because you know your child and what he or she can handle. And these are not "official" rules or anything - just suggestions.
The Thinking Tree Spelling Journals
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Keep in mind that younger children will need more help and go at a slower pace. Young children should only complete 1 page a day and mom helping with reading. Older kids like my Ethan should aim for 2-4 pages a day but as always, you set the pace for your child. You know him or her best!

1. Teach Your Child to Read, Write, and Spell: 100 Easy Bible Verses - if your child is using Dyslexia Series A 100 Easy Bible Verses is a great follow-up. Your child can also use it while completing Dyslexia Series A if he can handle it. You want to keep things fun and not overwhelm your child while he is completing Dyslexia Games.

2. Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal for ages 5+ (some little ones may need help) is for struggling beginners. Fun-Schooling Spelling Journal is best to wait until after the child has completed Series A. Because spelling is taught in a fun and non-stressful way you can have your child use this while completing Dyslexia Games B.
3. Spelling Time B: The Four Seasons -  is perfect for Dyslexia Game users whose child has completed Series B. As with all of The Thinking Tree spelling journals, Spelling Time B can be used right along with Dyslexia Games if it's not overwhelming for your child.
4. Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, & Draw - this one is great for children who struggle with sight words and what a fun way to learn using art, logic, and animals to learn how to spell those pesky but NOW fun sight words. This can be used right along with a child using Dyslexia Games Series A.

 5. Spelling Time - is for older students ages 10+ and teens. This book similar to the one in Dyslexia Games Level C. This one has some extra pages that the Dyslexia Games version does not have.

With the 1st three spelling journals, I really hesitate to put an age because children are so different.

I have a 13-year-old struggling speller working through Fun-School Spelling Journal and once done will use Spelling Time B and Spelling Time Master the Top 150 Misspelled Words.

Then I have another son age 11 completing 100 Easy Bible Lessons and 100 Words. He struggles with reading and spelling. But if I had to put an age on each book I'd say:
  • 100 Easy Bible Verses & Fun-Schooling Spelling Journals - ages can start between ages 5-8+. Just remember that learning should be fun and if a younger child only completes 1 page or half that's perfectly fine. Mom's it's okay to help and even work in their journal. Your child will LOVE that mom is using their "school" book =)
  • The Four Seasons Spelling Time (#3) and Teach Your Child 100 Words (#4) 8+ is a good age to start. Younger children can use this too because it's fun and enjoyable. Lot's of coloring and being creative. We just put an age on it because many mamas want to know 'what age'.
  • Spelling Time (#5) for ages 10+  
And guess what? The Thinking Tree will have more to come. This is just the beginning of your child learning to spell - the fun way!

Here is a Mom Tip by Sarah  regarding spelling (used with permission from Sarah Brown)

Don't worry about having children write before they are ready. The Thinking Tree spelling books are really good for children who are not ready for writing, they color the words and write the specific words and they also do a lot of drawing. As the books advance some of them give the child an opportunity to do creative writing. If your child is not ready for the writing the BEST BEST BEST thing to do is ask the child what YOU should write for him. When the child sees you writing it stirs something up in their minds and they begin to develop the ability and desire to write.

If I am writing a story for my child (think 3 sentences) and I arrive at a word that I know that they know, I would say "How do you spell cat?" they giggle and are happy to tell me how to spell. Next, I will stop writing when I get to a word that they can write, and just say "Your turn!" and hand them the pencil so they can add a simple word. One nice thing about this method is that the child will try to mimic your letter size and style. Another fun way to get a child writing is to have the child DRAW a small picture of the nouns in the sent.

If you do get to a place in any of the Thinking Tree Spelling books Or Dyslexia Games where the exercise is too advanced (For example the *spaghetti lady causes dread) I would be an example and say "You don't want to do the spaghetti lady? That's GREAT because I WANTED to do that one! Can I PLEASE do your spaghetti lady?"

This advice may go against everything you have learned from being in school yourself: If your child complains that something is too hard or too boring - DARE to do it yourself. Say "Oh really? Can I give it a try? It looks interesting to me!" But if it is super boring, agree with the child and give it a try, have fun. It's okay to say "You are right this is SOOOO boring. Let's have a snack, and turn on some music! Don't you think that music will make this more fun?" NOW, if the schoolwork is totally irrelevant, and you are unwilling to do that kind of work yourself, maybe you should pitch it. I know we worry about the money we spent on nice curriculum - so put it on the shelf and tell your children they can use those books to "Play School" with their friends or stuffed animals

*Spaghetti Lady is a page in Dyslexia Games - Series A.

Click HERE to see video reviews of the spelling journals mentioned.

100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw - Thinking Tree Spotlight Review & Link-Up!

This next book from The Thinking Tree was put together by Anna Brown (Sarah's daughter)!
Teach Your Child 100 Words to Spell, Write, Read, and Draw Review!
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Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw is a cute book of words that every child should master by age 10! If your child is using Dyslexia Games Series A and/or Teach Your Child to Read, Write, and Spell: 100 Easy Bible Verses, this little gem of a spelling and reading book (among art and writing) is a perfect follow-up to that.

100 Words To Read, Write, Spell, & Draw is also perfect to use with beginning readers, struggling readers, struggling spellers, and children with dyslexia. 100 Words uses the Dyslexic Font.

This book teaches the 100 most common words through cute poems about animals. Your child will learn how to read and spell words like: are, blue, clouds, house, eight, eat, snow, snack, wild, and more in a fun way. Kids might not even consider it as school learning because the book is not only fun but is smaller than your average workbook making it different from other schoolbooks.

 The first animal your child will meet is a grey squirrel. For beginning or struggling readers it's suggested that you read the poem four times, pointing to each word as you read it. When you get to the 3rd and 4th reading, have your child read along with you.
The next set of Grey Squirrel pages has mom read the poem again. The child can read it again as well if he likes. Once done reading have your little one point and say each word and color the word in. I have Lance say each letter as he colors them in, "Y-O-U, you".  And your child gets a little science too with -drawing the squirrel's habitat!
The next Grey Squirrel pages has your child fill in the blank.
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Another idea with using this book is to have your child memorize the poems and have some read aloud books on hand about squirrels.
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
The next animal is a zebra!
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw

Platypus pages. This animal would be fun to research more.
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
All these animals can be found and researched using the show Wild Kratts too!
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Watch the Platypus video on Wild Kratts.
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
 In the back of the book are some Fun-Schooling Practice Time Pages.
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Some words like kangaroo and raccoon may be hard to fit in the spaces for some kiddos. Make it fun and challenge the child to write small but also let them know that it's okay if the word goes into the next box. This is their book and it's absolutely okay because they are unique and so is the book they are creating here!
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
With the pages shown below your child can write short sentences or a story like, "See the shark has sharp teeth" or make shark plural and talk about adding the "s". The child can write, "See the sharks sharp teeth?"
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Have fun with it. Depending your child's age see how many words your child can use in one sentence, can he use most of the words on one page to write a short story?!?!
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Your child can draw and write, create their own little stories and poems making their own little book!
The Thinking Tree Teach Your Child 100 Words to Read, Write, Spell, and Draw
Wow, for a little book it's packed with a lot of learning. Your child will use art, logic, and animals to learn how to spell - all in a fun and enjoyable way.

Right now I'm having Lance use this book - some words are review but others like eight and please he still needs to learn. So we are using it as a fun way to review words and sneak some of the ones he hasn't mastered in his homeschool day.
The Thinking Tree
About the author: Anna Brown
Anna is 15, the oldest girl in a family of 10! She loves art, music, animals, nature, sister-time, babysitting, baking, and serving as a missionary in Ukraine. She has a baking ministry here.

Anna has Dyslexia and learned to read when she was nine after being the first child to use Dyslexia Games.
Anna majored in art from age 5 to 9 because she was unable to read and write. She has contributed artwork to the following books:

A Day Like Tomorrow
Teach Yourself to Draw: Puppies, Playful Pets, and Forest Animals
To Wear or Not to Wear
Dyslexia Games Series B
Teach Yourself to Read, Write, and Spell 100 Words.

Having dyslexia allows Ann to think in 3D and helps her to have a big imagination. Though reading and writing sometimes makes her tired after a few chapters, she loves books, and she loves creative writing.

Her latest book is full of cute little poems about animals to help children learn to read, write, and spell. Anna enjoys creating books for other kids with dyslexia and learning challenges. Her books are so much fun that they are becoming popular with homeschoolers in general, not just dyslexics.

Take a peek inside!

Here are some of the books that Anna has helped with!


Do you have a Thinking Tree review or post that you'd like to share? If so please link up. You can read the official rules and come back, grab the graphic below to add to your Thinking Tree post, and link-up!
Please don't forget to link back, thank you and have fun reading and commenting on other Thinking Tree post!

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday at Homeschooling6 - Annette practicing her photography!

10 Subject Portfolio Review

I was excited when the 12 Subject Portfolio came out a few weeks ago and was super excited when Sarah said she was making a 10 Subject Portfolio too. Well as soon as it went up for sale I bought one!
10 Subject Portfolio by The Thinking Tree - Review
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Isn't it just gorgeous!!! I absolutely love the cover. What makes this one different from the 12 Subject Portfolio is there are illustrations in the 10 Subject Portfolio. Where the 12 Subject Portfolio has the child design his own illustrations.

The first page for each subject has your child write what books, supplies, and such they need and to write notes.

The 10 Subject Portfolio includes:
  1. Science
  2. History
  3. Geography
  4. Math
  5. Business
  6. Language Arts - also included in the LA pages are Copywork & Literature
  7. The Arts
  8. Social Studies
  9. Films
  10. Home Economics
Also included are Project pages.

Here are pages from the Home Economics pages
 Each subject has pages for the child to write what he is learning or draw and doodle about that subject.
Your child can also add pictures of himself, draw diagrams, and even take pictures of what he's learning (like workbook pages, sketches, crafts, LEGO creations, baked goods, or a meal he/she planned). You're encouraged to use some books with pictures so your child can copy them into his book.
History Pages
The 10 Subject Portfolio will last all year or years - depending on how many times a week or month you use it. For instance there are 38 history pages.  .
History Pages
Some of the 38 pages have illustrations but most of the pages have space for your child to document, draw, write, and add pictures of what he's learning.
The first half of the Math pages include fun illustrations on one side with graph paper.
The last half of the Math pages are all graph paper (my boys will be using Life of Fred math on these pages).

Language Arts pages:
Language Arts Pages
 There's space to Copy a Poem or Song, Grammar Tips, space for Creative Writing, and Things I Want to Remember. And pages for Vocabulary and Spelling Words.
Included in the Language Arts section is Literature & Copywork pages (shown above). One page has your child copy a paragraph and the other to Tell the Story with Words & Pictures.
 The Arts has lots of space for your child to write and draw what they are learning: Art, Music, Drama, Drawing, Dance, Photography, etc. etc. etc.
You can add pictures of your child's art or of him playing his instruments. Get creative when filling the portfolio pages!
 Social Studies - have your child document what he or she has been learning about Culture, Politices, Economics, Communities, Journalism, Entertainment, Media, Social Networking, World Records, and so much more.
Under Films and Tutorials you can document all kinds of learning things from YouTube to documentaries to movies that help your child understand history, science, and/or hobbies.

And that's a sampling from the 448 page 10 Subject Portfolio.
I purchased this portfolio for Ethan and hope to get one for Lance soon. I plan to have Ethan use a few pages a week. For instance with Grammar, maybe have him write a grammar rule he learned that week. He doesn't have to use the whole page. He may write a rule then another week write something else he learned about grammar on the same page.

Another page for the week might be in history. He can write a short summary and maybe add some pictures.

The book actually suggest the child use 2-5 pages a day. And because this is their portfolio encourage him to do his BEST work.

Here is how the author Sarah Janisse Brown plans to use it with her 9 and 11 year old daughters:

Use the 10 subject portfolio for their best work. The portfolio can last YEARS if you use the book once a week for something really special. This is the book that you use to collect documentation of your child's learning, reports, research, artwork, and projects. You should even photograph and print pictures of their projects to put in - for example if they build a city with legos, bake a birthday cake, or build a fort put the photos in the portfolio.

1 hour - Daily Topics with the 10 Subject Portfolio: Instead of the Homeschool Journal being the core, have them focus on one main subject each day, and work on just one page in the Portfolio before chores. For example: Have a Space Day (science), a "Current Events & News" or "Interesting People" (social studies), an Animal Day (zoology), a Money Day (math), and an Inventions Day (history). there is no need to require more than an hour of study and research at their age on this type of Unit Study. On each day they can draw pictures or color things about the Subject, watch videos, look at books on the main subject (DK and Usborne Books are great for keeping unmotivated kids focused, they are often at the library).

As you can see that the 10 Subject Portfolio journals can be used more ways then one way. Make it work for your homeschool.

The 10 Subject Portfolio can be used with Organized Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Delight Directed Learning, Eclectic Learning, Notebooking, Unit Studies, Traditional Learning, and of course Fun-Schooling! 
Which Portfolio is right for your? Originally Sarah created the 12 Subject Portfolio for older students like Jr. High to High School but it can be used for any grades 3+. It just doesn't have illustrations like the 10 Subject Portfolio.

My recommendations would be to use the 10 Subject Portfolio for 3rd-6th grade and the 12 Subject one for 7th-12.

With that said at our house my 5th and 7th grade boys will use the 10 Subject Portfolio and my 8th grade son will use the 12 Subject Portfolio. I might get another 12 Subject one for Caleb but I'm still thinking about it.

I purchased the 10 Subject Portfolio Journal but am adding a disclaimer because I  review products.