Monday, December 29, 2014

Alpha-Phonics~ A review

Teaching a child to read has to be one of the most daunting task facing a homeschooling mom. I remember the days of teaching my first born, who has great dyslexic tendencies, let's just say it was very stressful for me. I really wish that I had tried Samuel Blumenfeld's Alpha Phonics program way back then.

I have come a long way in my homeschool journey and, I can tell within the first two minutes of browsing a curriculum if it is one that I would stick with.
 I like no frills.
 I like minimal teacher prep..... look.... I just don't want to be cutting and pasting and setting up games for hours.
Alpha Phonics fits the bill. Open the book and get started.

 Let me share a little about the program in detail. All you need to do this program is the Alpha-Phonics book. That is it.
In the textbook the student lessons begin on page 3....not a lot of fluff to go through before you start!
The back of textbook, on pages 131-150, includes a complete set of instructions for the parent/tutor. There is also a page that features the cursive alphabet and 159-168 have a pre-reading alphabet exercises. You start with the short vowel A and on the last lesson page, which is lesson 128, the student will be reading words like "gymnasium" and "hypnosis"........ now that is a lot of learning in 128 lessons! All in one, easy to go through, NO TEACHER PREP, book! Also, if you prefer the computer, there is also included a CD-Rom you can plug in and go through that matches the workbook. It is not a high tech CD-Rom with lots to annoy and distract the tutor or the student. It is very basic, but gets the job done.
This is a screen shot of the opening screen of the CD-Rom
Screen shot of lesson 1
But should you need more, they haven't left you on your own. This is where a lot of single book reading programs may hurt themselves, you CAN get a workbook and readers that  perfectly go with the basic Alpha-Phonics book. I can remember using another program that is just one book and wishing that I had these two things. I felt kind of lost as to how to supplement my children's learning to read experience. I bought readers, but I was really unsure of which levels to buy and what to expect from my child.

If you want a time tested and well thought out method to quickly teach your child to read then you should try this! For under 40 dollars you not only get a full phonics program, but handwriting and spelling can easily be taught from the one Alpha-Phonics textbook.

Please follow any of the links I have added to the Alpha Phonics Site. They have a ton of free sample pages and videos to help you get started or to decide if this is the right program for you.

And lastly, I'd like to include an excerpt  from the publishers of Alpha Phonics because it says a lot about the kind of people that I like to do business with.

"How can we make this offer of the Alpha-Phonics book and the Alpha-Phonics the Book on CD ROM both for the price of the book alone?
Also, why are we doing this?
HOW? The Paradigm Co., Inc. publishers of Alpha-Phonics and the CD ROM version have worked hard to make this possible. First, we have made special arrangements for the production of the book and CDs in large quantities so as to make a significant savings without sacrificing any quality. Second, we have made special arrangements to save on royalties. Third, we are reducing our profit margin on the products to an absolute bare minimum. Fourth, we believe increased volume of orders by virtue of the exceptional value offered will cover much of the extra cost of providing both items for such a low price.

WHY? The Paradigm Co. is as much a ministry as it is a business. As such we attempt to save little minds from a life of actual illiteracy or functional illiteracy. Profit, therefore, is not our goal. Naturally it is important that we operate at a level which will enable us to continue with this ministry on a permanent basis, but to simply make a big profit is unimportant.
A second reason for this special offer is that we are a relatively small company competing with many much larger firms. We believe most sincerely our Alpha-Phonics intensive, systematic phonics reading instruction program is probably the best all round program available. In order to be able to help more families succeed in teaching their children to be good readers we needed to find a way to stand out among the field. The answer was for us to be able to offer our absolutely unbeatable product combination at an absolutely unbeatable price.
Will the low price be only temporary? NO! We plan to keep this price indefinitely.
If you order from one of our fine vendor/resellers please be sure to use this specific ISBN number: 9780941995306"

Many blessings and Happy Homeschooling!

P.S. Wow! It has been a long, long time since I have blogged.....hope to change that this coming new year!  I was given the Alpha-Phonics textbook, workbook and readers in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weight Loss that Last- How my friend has lost 170 pounds (and counting)

Weight loss that last.
A diet / lifestyle that you can live with for more than three months.
Lasting change without regaining the weight you fought so hard to lose.
This is the goal of countless numbers of people, including me.
Few find it.

 My friend has!
 She is amazing, and what an inspiration!
She has lost 170 pounds and went from a size 28 to a size 16!
With hard work and determination. That is it!
 I am going to tell you about her in just a bit.

 First, a bit about me. If you have read any of this blog for any time then you know that I have been pursuing health for a couple of years. I have done Trim Healthy Mama, 17 Day Diet and Weight Watchers.  I am not going into the details of those diets here. There is plenty of info all over the web about them. There are things I learned from all of them, and the many other books I have read. I love reading about nutrition. I love cooking for my family and feeling like I am making the best choices. The biggest thing I have learned is that you have to be able to maintain whatever eating plan you choose. If not, chances are you won't keep it up. This is especially hard with a family of six. Most days I cook three meals a day for them. I made a valiant effort to cook separate things for myself but after a while that gets tiring and expensive. We already spend a lot on groceries.

 While I was going through all of these plans, and thinking I had finally found what I could maintain, only to quit after a weight stall, I was seeing my friend on facebook ( and in real life) shrink. This wasn't an overnight transformation. She was changing herself slowly and she was happy. I read every post and would always come away encouraged. She has the gift of encouragement. Let me tell you about Karla.
I sent Karla a message and asked her if I could write about her journey. When I want to give up she is the first person I think about. She was gracious, and agreed to let me share her story as to encourage myself and anyone else who reads this.

 This is her story in her own words. What a blessing she is and she has the best attitude!
"Karla Williams Project Manager at Shaw Industries, Inc. Age 43 Married to one of my biggest Cheerleaders, Michael Together we have 3 Children, ages 12-23"
 I have struggled with my weight my whole life, even as a child I was heavy.

 In 2009 I was battling a health scare with high BP and elevated Glucose levels. I had even begun to have diabetic ulcers under the flaps of my skin. Both my Parents are diabetics and we have family history of high BP and high cholesterol. I told myself if I don’t get this under control now I may never do it. I decided to make a change in my life to become healthy. I never really just sat down and realized how much food I put in my body. I was committing a sin daily of Gluttony. Now most people say well that is not really a sin but it is and we all often partake in this sin without realizing it. I began to keep a food journal and wrote down everything that went in my mouth for a week. It was then that I realized I was taking in anywhere form 4000-6000 calories a day. I should only consume around 1200-1500 per day to maintain a healthy weight. I quickly realized that I was not really hungry I was either bored, or just eating because it was easier to hit a drive thru than prepare food. I signed up and did Weight Watchers for a while until I learned how to eat in smaller portions. I was too embarrassed to go to the gym so for the first year I did all my workouts at home. I started out by using the Walk away the pounds videos and the weight started coming off 1-2 lbs per week. Most of us modern day people are always looking for a Magic Pill or a Quick Fix but that is not the answer. Even if you find one it won’t last forever.

My motto is “If you cannot see yourself doing it for the rest of your life DON’T START IT” The true answer is “Eat Less. Move More” Smaller portions and exercise is how you maintain a healthy weight.
Now, I am a country girl at heart, I love Fried Chicken, Ribs, Bread, and Sweets…I still eat those things I just eat them in moderation. I hear people say all the time I can’t diet I don’t like vegetables or salads. One funny fact about me is that I DO NOT eat any vegetables or salads, the only green that I eat is green beans. And yes I have still lost weight the key to this is “everything in moderation.”

 In the beginning I weighed myself once a week just to stay on track, but now I avoid the scales all together and just go by how my clothes feel. My biggest goal was to one day be able to walk in Cato’s and go to the right instead of to the left (Plus Size Side) But seriously, just start with saying: I will lose 5 lbs, then 5 more, then 5 more. Eventually you will be on your way to your big goal.

In this journey I give GOD all the glory, He is the one who has made this possible. He gives me the Strength, Determination, and Courage to face all the obstacles that come my way every day. My husband and my family are all very supportive. The main thing comes down to Prayer and holding yourself accountable for your decisions with food and activity.
Doesn't she look amazing????!!! And I see her out in real life. She is bubbly, happy and radiant! She works out like a boss and in my next post I will pick her brain about her specific workout routines and ask her some questions about her eating habits. Have anything you'd like to know? Ask them in the comments sections and I will try to answer them in the follow-up post.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Learning New Things

My oh my! Can I just say that I am addicted to crochet!!
 I really didn't see this coming.
 My friend, Karen, causally mentioned that she was crocheting and I said, "I have always wanted to do that!" You see, I tried to learn from my Granny when I very young. It didn't stick. Karen suggested that I take a Craftsy class. A what? Can you believe that I had never ever heard of Craftsy? It's a whole new world folks!

 I took a beginners class. When I would get stuck I would go to YouTube. ( if you know what to search for, stitch wise, you can find it there) I am about 3 weeks into it. Here are my projects. Some are flops. Some are just cute. I have loved every minute of it.

And, can I tell you weary homeschooling mom who don't even have time for the basics, that it was worth spending the time.

Here is how: STRESS RELIEF!!

No kidding!

 When the child is doing the dreaded Algebra....I can crochet instead of sitting there antsy and fretting... I just stitch, and I DON'T YELL at the computer (Teaching Textbooks) anymore. No kidding. Now, you may not have that problem, but I can be wound a little tightly sometimes, and honest to goodness crocheting is bringing it down to a level of pleasantry.

 Praise the Lord.

 I am a crafty person, and it has been years since I have done anything crafty. I just can't tell you what this little hobby is to me right now. So, if there is something you have always wanted to do perhaps you should just give yourself a little grace and do it. (I really want to grow a garden......)
Now this was supposed to be a boot cuff.....laugh. out. loud...... oh well, it is pretty on her head......
Then I made the boot cuff and it turns down over her boots. Cute enough. Then, the coffee that not just cute?
And look, my son allowed me to make a Techie Cozy for his iPod touch. Then I made one for the metronome.

I also made a Granny Square... Oh me, Granny was sure smart. That thing about drove me insane. :)

Thanks for dropping by!

As a Child (from archives)

*Pulling from the archives here.....because sometimes I need to remind myself. :)

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

It was late.
What a nice day we had all had.
Snow covered everything. It was just as I had hoped for. Snowed in. With Dad here too.

So, why  was I getting ill?

Well, not to make excuses but it had been a full day of washing the snow covered wet clothes, and cooking, washing dishes, cooking again..... I was just tired. It was late.

The third or fourth western was blaring, the men were hooting. I was throwing a little pity party in my mind. (please know this did not last long)

Little Jenna wants to help. She is more than willing. I gave in and said "yes" to her plea to.....wash dishes.....gulp.....

So, I had not said a word. Just mumbling in my head. "I'm tired. I want to sit and read, or blog, I'm just working while everyone is at leisure."  Honestly, I'm embarrassed to tell it. But, for the sake of transparency, I will.

Jenna starts singing.....
A hymn...

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Lord, forgive me, my heart cries. I talk to my girls about serving in your home, joyfully
Then it takes a little child to remind me.

I thank you, Lord, for these precious teachers in my little home.


It's ten p.m. The sweet man is really needing chocolate. 
" I'll bake you some brownies"
"Are you sure? You have just finished cleaning the kitchen."
"Yes, it is no problem."

We are snowed in, what else do I need to do?

Enjoy my blessings. That's what I need to do.


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