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Sunday, October 28, 2012

H is for Home Economics...

H is for Home Economics.....

The girls and I were talking one day & they wanted to know what was my favorite subject in school. I wasn't very scholarly, so I told them probably Computers & Home Ec. They wanted to know what I did in those classes. They were really surprised that there would actually be a class on cooking in school.

The next week Amber was struggling with her math & was just not having a very good day. All of a sudden she jumped up out of her chair & proclaimed, "I'm going to do Home Ec." Then she asked, "Is that OK?" So off she went to the kitchen to make some cookies. This has now become her release when she is frustrated with her work.

All three of the girls like to cook & they have been searching and trying new recipes for a local recipe contest. Amber enters every year, but Delaney & Alaina have missed a few years. This year the theme is Favorite Holiday Ethnic Recipe. Mike is half Finnish, so Amber & Alaina decided to find a Finnish recipe to take, but Delaney chose one of her favorites that is from Mexico. Amber chose Suomalainen Pulla which is a braided sweet bread, Alaina chose Mairea Karpaloita which is sugared cranberries, and Delaney chose Mexican Hot Chocolate. They all tasted great & they had a good time searching for recipes & trying new things.

I think they all turned out great. The sweet bread was good, I liked the hot chocolate because it isn't overly sweet, and those cranberries.......they are addicting!!

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sugar Creek Gang

You may have tangible wealth untold; caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me.
I just love this poem from Beloved Books. Reading together as a family has always been a big part of our lives and I hope that my kids feel they are rich from our time together.
Another thing we like to do as a family, usually while we are cleaning house, is listening to good quality books on CD. The last few weeks we have been listening to the Sugar Creek Gang from Beloved Books.
The first Sugar Creek Gang book was published in 1939. Paul Hutchen was a preacher when he came down with tuberculosis. While he was recuperating he decided he would try writing and eventually wrote 36 books in the series. The CD version of the books were recorded by Paul Ramseyer. Beloved Books began manufacturing and distributing of the Sugar Creek Gang Time audio stories in 1998.

We have been listening to volume 1 of the Sugar Creek Gang. These stories take us on the adventures of a group of boys called the Sugar Creek Gang. They are much different from what we think of as gangs today, they are young boys looking for adventure. Some of the boys are Christians and they convince some others to accept bible teachings for their own lives.

  • Sugar Creek Gang Volume 1
    • The Swamp Robber
    • The Killer Bear
    • The Winter Rescue
    • The Lost Campers
    • Chicago Adventure
    • The Secret Hideout
Even though the stories are about boys all three of my girls ages 7, 10, & 11 loved listening to the them. While we listened to some of the stories we were suppose to be cleaning the house, but I would occasionally catch the girls listening so intently they forgot what they were doing.

These stories have become some of our favorite to listen to. I love that they portray Christianity in a good way & that the boys try to encourage others to become Christians. It is so refreshing to hear stories that have family values and that the children have a responsibility to the family first before their friends and activities. One of the boys dad is an alcoholic and this behavior is discussed in a negative way with everyone wanting to help him and his son. Sin and disobedience is discouraged throughout the stories.

There are 2 CDs for each book for a total of 72 CDs in a complete 6 volume set. That is over 100 hours of story time. Each volume of the Sugar Creek Gang is $54.95. You can save $50.00 by ordering the entire collection at once. The first story the Swamp Robber is FREE.

~~Coupon Code~~
Use this coupon code for 20% off your entire purchase
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received Sugar Creek Gang volume 1 free of charge from Beloved Books to use with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Samson's Classroom

Samson's Classroom is an online program where children in grades K-5 learn sight words, spelling words, and work on reading comprehension. This program is an "umbrella" product and you have access to every product in Samson's Classroom. If new products or upgrades are added you will automatically have access to those with no additional cost.

I have been using Samson's Classroom with Alaina, age 7. She has a login name and password and so do I. When I log into my account I can see how many games have been played & who the top students are (for more than one child), and if anyone has earned their black belt in sight words. I can play all the learning games from my page, and see all the students scores plus mine on one page. This is also where I can add my own spelling list. When Alaina logs in she has the option of changing her password, see her profile, check on all her scores, and play the games. Her scores contain 3 sets of statistics one for each category. Each set shows the lesson or level that has been completed and perfect scores are marked with a check in a green box, if they need more improvement the box is read & contains an X.


Sight Words with Samson is set up for beginning readers where they can master the 224 most commonly used words in the English language. When sight words are first introduced to the child they are given a group of letters in random order. The child will hear the word pronounced and spelled, and they will click on each letter of the word in order. In the lesson above the child is told a word & they click on the correct one. Below the child is read a sentence and they must click on the correct word to fit in the blank to collect diamonds.
Spelling with Samson uses more than 5,000 words to captivate students while they are improving their spelling. The student can work on spelling lists that are included or the parent/teacher can create their own lists. There are 4 parts to the spelling. There is a word list where the child sees the word, hears the word & it is used within a sentence. In another section they fill in the missing letter of their words. If it is answered correctly Samson uses karate to break a board. In the spelling scramble (above) the child tries to run into all the letters before the spider catches Samson. Once all the letters are gathered the child is told a word and they must arrange the letters in the correct spelling. In Crunch time Samson needs help crossing the icebergs to get to the igloo by typing the correct spelling. If you take to long to spell it correctly the walrus will knock Samson into the water turning him into an ice cube.

Reading with Samson helps students with their reading comprehension and they learn to draw conclusions and answers based on the selected reading. In this section students are given a reading selection to read with questions to answer. If the problem is answered incorrectly the paragraph that the answer is in turns red. After completing the lesson the child earns hammer points so that Samson can have a turn at the hammer game. The child is awarded points for each hammer strike. These points are then used to rank students with high scores.
Alaina has really enjoyed working in Samson's Classroom, it is more like a game to her than actual work. Her favorite part is where she fills in the missing letters and if she gets the correct answer Samson karate chops a board. She was very frustrated with the Spelling Scramble, she had trouble getting Samson to move where she wanted him to go. I really like that I can add our own spelling lists or use the ones available if I don't get a new one added. I really like the reading selections, they seem to be just the right length and questions to build her comprehension.                       

In the Resource Section you have free access to articles on sight word statistics, lesson plans, flashcards, worksheets, certificates, and sight word games.

Samson classroom is available in several different pricing options. For home use with one child it is $30.00 per year and only $50.00 for 4 students. There is also pricing for classroom & school use.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received a family subscription to Samson Classroom to use  with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Read Aloud Challenge

Reading out loud to my kids is something we do for entertainment and to learn. My friend Debra blogs at Footprints in the Butter has started her Read Aloud Challenge again. Every week I will share with you what I have been reading out loud to my kids or any books on CD we have been listening to.


My girls love the Imagination Station series and we just finished reviewing book 8 & 9 and I have a set to giveaway. The giveaway is until October 31 if you would like to enter. In this series of books we get to follow cousins Patrick and Beth on their adventures through time on the Imagination Station. These books are written for children ages 7 and up, but we all love them.

Before reading the Imagination Station books we read the Collector's Edition 7 Favorite 19-Century Children's Stories. This is a collection of stories published in the 1800's by the American Tract Society. We received this book to review with the Crew, so be watching for my review of it in November.

Another review item that will be up the first part of November is Journeys of Faithfulness. This book includes stories of life and faith for young christian women. This book isn't just for young christian women unless you think I am still young. Sarah Clarkson challenges today's young women in their relationship with Christ by looking at heroines in the Bible.

I really like the Childhood of Famous Americans books. This series shows us how famous people grew up & what they did, tonight we finished Dwight D. Eisenhower Young Military Leader. We learned a lot of facts about this man when he was young. He was raised with family values and determination, and was successful at his money making projects and jobs. We thought it was very interesting how he changed his name. He was born as David Dwight but went by the name Dwight or Ike. When he enrolled in West Point he signed his name with Dwight first since that is what he always went by & that was what he was called for the rest of his life.

I received a set of books on CD to review & we have been listening to them the last couple of weeks. The Sugar Creek Gang are recordings of stories that were first published in 1939. We get to follow a group of young boys who call themselves the Sugar Creek Gang on their adventures.

I think that sums up our reading this week except some library books that Alaina likes me to read to her. If you would like to see what other people are reading to their kids head on over to Footprints in the Butter. If you want to blog about what you are reading you can add your post to her linky each week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Imagination Station Giveaway

I love when my girls get excited over books. We just finished reading the Imagination Station book 8 & 9. The very day they came in the mail the girls wanted to stop what they were doing to read them. They are written for children ages 7 and up, and they are perfect for my 7 year old. Even though my 10 & 11 year old have a much higher reading level they still love the history and adventure. 
The Imagination Station allows us to follow Patrick and his cousin Beth on adventures through time. In the Battle for Cannibal Island Patrick is upset that his mom is making him miss his soccer game to attend his grandmothers birthday party. While hanging out in the Imagination Station he pushes some buttons and accidentally sends Beth and himself to Fiji in the 1850s. Patrick and Beth find themselves aboard a ship where they get separated. Patrick must fight off escaped convicts, then falls overboard, and has to deal with a terrible storm from a small boat and eventually lands on the island with cannibals. Beth is discovered hiding in the rescue boat with missionary James Calvert. James' real motive for going to the island is to find the king of the cannibals and tell him about the Bible. Will Beth find Patrick and get off the island safely.
The Battle for Cannibal Island was written by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson and illustrated by David Hohn. This 5 1/2"X8" softcover book was released this month and retails for $4.99.

Patrick is at it again in Escape to the Hiding Place, he is upset because he spent time studying to take the Red Cross baby sitting class with his cousin Beth just to find out they are too young. Discouraged that they are too young to be of any help Mr. Whitaker sends them on a trip in the Imagination Station to Holland during World War Two. They end up hiding from the Germans on a farm with the Dutch Resistance. Patrick and Beth are given a secret mission of hiding and smuggling a Jewish baby to her mother. Will the mother still be in hiding when they get there or will the Germans find her first.

Escape to the Hiding Place was written by Mariann Hering and Marshal Younger and illustrated by David Hohn. This 5 1/2"X8" softcover book was released this month and retails for $4.99.

I have an additional copy of Battle for Cannibal Island and Escape to the Hiding Place to giveaway to one lucky winner.
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email or a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Marianne Hering is the former editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. She has written more than  dozen children's books. She likes to read out loud in bed to her fluffy gray-and-white cat, Koshka.

Wayne Thomas Batson divides his time between family, teaching, and writing. He also likes to read, golf, play video games, travel to the beach, play electric guitar, and create 3D artwork.

Author Marshal Younger has written over 100 Adventures in Odyssey radio dramas and the children's book series Kidsboro. He lives in Tennessee with his wife and four children. He has been a Cleveland Indians fan for 34 long years.

Illustrator David Hohn draws and paints books, posters, and projects of all kinds. He works from his studio in Portland, Oregan.

Disclaimer: I received Battle for cannibal Island and Escape to the Hiding Place from Tyndale Publishing free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Deep Blue Kids Bible


Tradition: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior.
What traditions do you pass to your children?

We all have traditions in our family, whether they are day to day traditions, weekly, or just for the holidays. When two people get married they bring with them two sets of traditions and habits that need to be combined. A tradition my husband, Mike, grew up with was that his mom cooked the same thing for dinner every week. They had roast one day, tacos, homemade sub sandwiches, and pizza every Friday night. That is not the way I cook, I cook whatever I feel like having that day. If there is a day when I am unsure what I want to fix Mike will say if you had the same thing every week you wouldn't have to worry about it. Even if we grow up and change the traditions we grew up with it is still a memory we can cherish & look back on our entire lives.

Mike is always on call for his job, so our schedule can vary from day to day, but one thing we do every day is family devotions & our read aloud time before bed. Once our kids started reading I wanted them to get in the habit of having their own personal devotional time. I had them read a small toddler Bible with a Bible story, picture, and one question to answer. When they finished the toddler Bible they got to pick out their very own Bible, and I had them start reading from that every morning. The last couple of weeks we have been reading the Deep Blue Kids Bible.

The Deep Blue Kids Bible is written in the Common English Bible Translation, and is recommended for children ages 7-12. It is approximately 8.5" X 5.5", is written in 9-point type and contains a Bible dictionary, 8 full-color maps from National Geographic, in-text subject headings. The retail price for the flex cover edition is $26.99, but can be purchased from various retail sources and right now it is $17.81 on Videos to introduce this new Bible have been made and a PDF sample is also available.

The Common English Bible translation was put together by 120 Bible translators from 24 denominations and 500 Bible readers from hundreds of different churches. They wanted to use words and phrases that sound natural in today's conversation, so that it would mirror how we talk, read, and write today.
In the beginning of the Bible we are introduced to 3 kids who love adventure and want to dive deep into God's word with us. Throughout the Bible they share with us God's thoughts & their thoughts on selected passages. The In-text Notes & Features include:
  • Sailboat notes point out positive traits we can have in our lives.
  • Umbrella notes explain unhappy emotions and traits that aren't good for us.
  • Lighthouse notes help us follow God for life by developing a solid faith.
  • Life Preserver notes answers tough questions & hard-to-understand passages.
  • Did You Know? Points out Bible trivia, customs, and practices.
  • God's Thoughts/My Thoughts explains how the Bible applies to life today.
  • Navigation Point marks key promises and passages to memorize.
  • Bet You Can! encourages us to read the Bible for ourselves.
For each book of the Bible we are given an introduction, and we are told things we will discover, people we will meet, places we will go, and words we will remember.

We received the flex cover edition of the Bible, and have been using it for our individual (ages 7, 10, & 11) & family devotions every day. We compared some verses to our regular translation, read random chapters, some book introductions, and the book of Esther & Ruth to get a feel for how some of the books flowed.

We really like the way this translation reads, especially when we are reading straight through a book. The In-text notes were right on to some of the questions that my girls asked while reading. The introduction to each book gave us a good idea of what the book is about & who we will meet. I like how it tells us where it takes place & what it is called today. One of our favorite things is the Bet you can! when we are told to read a selected passage in a certain amount of time. We all had to take turns and then we had to go again to see if we could beat our previous time.

The most important tradition we can teach our children is to set apart time each day for their own personal devotions, and the Deep Blue Kids Bible is a great Bible to start with.
Disclaimer: As a member of Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the Deep Blue Kids Bible from Abingdin Press free of charge to use with my children in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

National Tax Training School

I have always prepared our taxes, even the first year we itemized. I was a little unsure that year, because we had a lot of work related deductions. After I was finished I had a professional look at them just to make sure they were right, and they were. I have used a tax CD the last few years, but I still fill out a paper form just because I like to.

In the past I have learned about the tax laws gradually as they applied to our situation. During the last several weeks I have been learning about the tax laws that apply to us & the ones that don't. I have been using the Federal Income Tax Course from National Tax Training School.

The National Tax Training School (NTTS) is the only nationally accredited correspondence school that specializes in tax training. After completing this course you will have the confidence to prepare your own tax return, the return of other individuals, or small businesses. You may even want to operate your own tax practice, or get a job in an accounting or tax preparation firm.

This course will prepare you to take the IRS Registered Tax Preparer (RTRP) exam.

The Federal Income Tax Course is sent out in two separate mailings so that you will have the most up to date tax laws. There are 20 lessons that require approximately 20 hours of study. You could complete the course and earn your certificate in as little as 8 weeks or you have a year if you need it.

The first package I received from NTTS contained a welcome letter, 3-ring binder containing all 20 lessons, practice tests, exams, and addressed envelopes to mail in the exams. After completing lesson 17 there is a form to mail back before you will receive the remainder of the program.

The welcome letter explains what is included in both mailings. Each student is given an enrollment number and an instructor that you can email any time with questions or problems.

The actual course comes in a 3-inch binder. There is an introduction and a message from the Educational Director on How To Study This Course. It was designed to give you a clear picture of the over-all tax structure as well as an in-depth knowledge of various laws and regulations. The Outline of the Course starts with General Principles & Exemptions and ends with Ethics of Tax Practitioners. The lessons are written step-by-step so it very easy to understand the topic. Things that are irrelevant or rare have been omitted from the lessons. The practice tests are self-check with an explanation of the correct answer. The exam is completed and mailed to NTTS to be graded. You do not have to wait for the results of one test to come back before sending in the next one.

When lesson 17 is completed the second package will arrive containing:
  • The Final Exam ~ This exam is 6 pages containing 29 multi-part questions.
  • 2012 Federal Tax Handbook ~ This handbook is 834 pages with a 76 page index. It lists anything new or changes at the front and is designed to answer any questions that arise.
  • Building, Marketing & Operating A Profitable Tax Practice ~ This 285 page book is a guide to running a professional tax practice.
  • ATC Tax and Accounting Software Solutions Evaluation Package ~ You may prepare as many individual, business, specialty, payroll or other returns as you like and print up to ten times. Electronic filing is not available in this version. 
  • State Tax Guide ~ State laws vary in detail, but they all follow a similar pattern. In these 15 pages you will understand this pattern to make it easy to understand your state laws.
  • Case Study Portfolio ~ This contains 8 case studies that you will have to figure out what forms to use & fill them out. There is a completely filled in model to compare your form to, and there are notes and comments for each case explanation.
  • California Supplement (if applicable)
I haven't completed lesson 17 yet, but for review purposes I was sent the second package ahead of time.

NTTS has just launched an online version of the Tax course. This is very new & I haven't had the chance to complete any pretests or exams online yet, but I have looked around. The lessons are exactly the same as the print version, and the pretests look the same too. There are 2 exams offered, one is just like the book and an alternate version that works better online. There is not a time limit on the pretests and your attempts are unlimited, but you only have one chance on the exams.

Online you can see all of your personal information, course grades & assignment, access a calender, and have access to email addresses of other students and teachers. In the messaging system you may send private messages or talk to an entire group at once.

After completing the course you will gain online access to the annual Tax Change Bulletins of NTTS, and you will be able to contact your instructor as your tax practice grows without additional cost. This could last up to four years depending on which options you enrolled under.

I was a bit nervous when I first started the course, I hadn't turned in any papers or exams to be graded in over 20 years. To my relief I have been enjoying this course & I have gotten all A's & one B. Even though I have been preparing my own tax return I have learned a lot. So far the hardest lesson has been the Gross Income Exclusions and Inclusions. I really like having the explanation of the correct answer on the pretests because it helped me to understand why it was correct. I like using the book to read the lessons, but I will probably complete the pretest & exams online from now on. After completing an exam I mailed it in the preaddressed envelopes. When it was returned it had a grade and a Model Solution was included so that I could see what the correct answer is and why.

I really think that anyone who completes this course will be capable of preparing taxes for other people. A few of my friends who know I'm taking this course have already said they would pay me to prepare their taxes instead of someone else.

There are two course options with different payment plans for the Federal Income Tax Course. Course 1 is $795 with 4 years of post graduate support. Course 2 is $495 with two years of post graduate support. NTTS also offers a Higher Course In Federal Taxes, and the California Tax Preparer Course.

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received the Federal Income Tax Course free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

G is for Granola

G is for Granola

My family really likes granola. I have made several different kinds over the years & this recipe is a favorite with my family. I usually don't like granola bars from the store because I think they are too sweet, but I tried the Pumpkin-N-Spice granola bars from Nature's Path & I love them. They don't actually have pumpkin in them it has pumkin seeds, but this got me to thinking about making pumpkin granola. I tried a recipe (with pumkin) that I found online this weekend, but I wasn't happy with it. I guess I'll keep tweaking mine, and looking online for a good one.

8 cups oats
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoons vanilla

Mix together and bake at 325° for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

Stir in:
1/4 Cup chopped Almonds
1/4 Cup chopped Walnuts
1/4 Cup chopped Pecans

Bake 10 minutes.

Let cool and then stir in:
1/4 Cup craisins
1/4 Cup raisins

Do you make granola? Do you have a favorite? or Do you have a recipe with pumkin you would like to share?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Pilgrim Story

The Pilgrim Story is a new online course offered by Dayspring Christian Academy. The class is taught directly to the student, is self-paced and interactive. It teaches the true history of the Pilgrims from original sources. Not only do students learn history they also learn the biblical principles of Christian liberty, the importance of Christian character, self governance, hard work, and perseverance.

Dayspring Christian Academy uses the Principle Approach to teach children in grade 3-6 The Pilgrim Story. Registration for this course is $99.00 for a six month access. 

The program is divided into 5 Units, an introduction, and a Virtual Field Trip. Each lesson should take around 30-45 minutes plus extra time to complete the activities. 

Course Outline
  • Pilgrim Story ~ Introduction
  • Unit 1
    • King Henry
    • Geneva Bible
    • Life in Scrooby
    • Liberty of Conscience
    • Unit 1 test
  • Unit 2
    • Leaving England
    • The Second Escape Attempt
    • Leiden
    • Preparing to go
    • Unit 2 test
  • Unit 3
    • Leaving Leiden
    • Conditions on the Mayflower
    • Building Christian Character
    • Unit 3 test
  • Unit 4
    • Mayflower Compact
    • Exploration
    • The First Winter
    • Unit 4 test
  • Unit 5
    • Spring, 1621
    • The Wampanoag People
    • The Rest of the Story
    • Unit 5 test
  • Virtual Field Trip to Plymouth, MA
When we first logged into The Pilgrim Story we went straight to the introduction. This section went over how to use the program and how to navigate the clips. We got to meet the teacher, and learned how to set up our student notebooks. 

Our Student Notebook

Each day we logged in we would select our lesson from the topic outline. That would take us to our lesson like the one below. At the bottom of the screen there are tabs to show you the contents of the lesson, contact information of Dayspring, and the resources that will be used for this lesson. There is a play/pause button at the bottom right of the screen (not visible here) to pause the lesson, or click to the next one. You can also navigate the lesson portions under the content tab. In the resource tab you can print or download the worksheets, vocabulary lists, quotes, and directions to activities. 
The lessons are series of slides & they are set up the same way for each day. There is an introduction to the lesson, review of previous lessons, vocabulary, parts of the lesson, a review of what was just learned, and additional resources. The student is told exactly what worksheets and supplies they will need for each lesson. The only part that is graded is the unit tests. The questions are read to the students and the information is given to them orally.

During some of the lessons the student will have several items to learn about. In this lesson the student is learning about men and their jobs. After learning about Moses Fletcher the student is brought back to the main screen & they are told that they have more to click on. 

Included with the course are interactive lessons, crafts, recipes, map-making, and more. A couple of the interactive lessons allowed the student to move the Mayflower on its route, and add items needed for the journey into a trunk. We made our own Mayflower out of egg cartons & drew the map so it could sail. We made hardtack and tomorrow the girls will make a pilgrim house.

I have been using The Pilgrim Story with all three of my girls ages 7, 10, & 11. We are ready for lesson 3 in unit 4 & my girls are excited to build a pilgrim house. I had them all 3 sit together to work through the program. Some days it took a little longer to get through the lesson because it took Alaina (7) longer to fill in her worksheets. They have enjoyed the program so much that it is the first thing they want to work on after breakfast and bible study. Each day they took turns being in charge for the day, so they could each have a turn clicking on the answers to questions, and moving around in the program. It was very easy to navigate, and they didn't need any help getting logged in and finding where they needed to be. 

I have sat and watched the lessons with my girls and I am very impressed with the quality of the program. The lessons are very detailed and my girls love the format. It is very easy to listen and understand the speaker throughout the course. The worksheets and paperwork look very nice when they are printed. Combined with the maps and the essays my girls will all have a very nice looking notebook when they are finished. I like that the recipes, and crafts are fun but very inexpensive to make. 

There wasn't anything we disliked about this program, but it would be nice if there was a list of additional resources for the entire unit together. That way we could have printed that off & looked for all the books at the same time without having to go through each lesson.


Dayspring Christian Academy is a school located in Mountville, PA, they teach a biblical Christian worldview using the Principle Approach. The educational foundation of the Principle Approach is the Bible, it teaches students to apply biblical reasoning to all areas of life.

Instructor: Mary Stauffer
Mary Stauffer has taught third grade at Dayspring Christian Academy since 1994. She has led more than 20 guided tours of Plymouth, MA, and uses the words of our forefathers as found in primary sources to teach the Pilgrim story. She also lectures on the subject to the community and is passionate about teaching and preserving the truth of our nation’s past.


Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a  6 month subscription to The Pilgrim Story from Dayspring Academy to use with my children,  free of charge,  in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, October 15, 2012


KinderBach is a music program for young children ages 3-7.  It is taught directly to the child using playful characters so even if you have limited knowledge of music you can still teach your children.

KinderBach is a 60 week program, it is divided into 6 levels with 4 lessons per week. Online access is $95.88 per year or $19.99 per month. DVDs and songbooks are available per level or in different packages and there is a new iPad app. You can meet the KinderBach characters, enjoy a free lesson, free song downloads, and coloring pages.

Alaina is 7 and she has been using KinderBach. She used it last year when we reviewed it and was very excited to have a chance to work on the program again. Since she used the beginning of the program last year I had her start at level 4. When we first logged in I printed off the PDF download that went with that level. Alaina watched the videos on our Kindle Fire so she could be near the piano. She already takes piano lessons, but she has really liked using KinderBach and it has helped her with her dynamics.
Each level has a PDF book to download and print, a sample of level 1 can be downloaded for free. Each book can be downloaded and printed all at once or you can print the pages each day.
This is the learning center. Here you can change levels at the top of the screen, then you can choose which weekly lesson you are working on. If you click on the PDF Book at the bottom you can download or print the entire book for this level at one time.

Miss Karri uses 22 hours of video to introduce students to keyboard characters, and the Grand Staff clefs. Proper hand position for a scale is taught as well music direction, rhythm notes, beat value, and some dynamics. The notes are taught by using cute characters and is remembered by using the piano key as their home. The video sessions contain many different activities. Children are taught to keep the beat by clapping and making their own rhythm instruments, they learn to recognize high notes & low notes by standing up tall and squatting down. Some of the sessions have the student sing and play the piano. A complete syllabus by level is available for the curriculum.


In this lesson the student plays the piano by using the characters on the worksheet. Miss Karri shows the student how it is played & then they can use their worksheet that looks just like the one shown on the video to play it themselves. It is very easy to navigate this program. The level choices are at the bottom and the purple box indicates which week you are on & you can choose the session you are ready for. You can print the pages that you need for this lesson from the printer picture at the bottom. 

On this page you can see that the character is included with the note. In the earlier lessons the child is taught what character goes with what note and they actually learn to play the note by the character instead of finger number like a lot of beginning piano books. 

Alaina has really enjoyed using KinderBach. She loves the characters and all the worksheets that go along with it. She loves to color, so the characters on every page are colored. I think it made her feel special because she had her own program that she could use the Kindle Fire & the piano while everyone else was working on other things.

Her retention of what she learned last year when we used this was very good. I thought we might have to go back and review some things but she remembered most of the information. I like that she could use the program completely on her own. The Kindle saved her password & she knows how to get exactly where she needs to be. This program has given her more confidence in her piano playing.

There has been research done that provides evidence that the study of music promotes intellectual development. There has been a dramatic difference in Math and Language skills of preschool children with music and those without. Children who have had piano lessons out performed all other groups at puzzle solving, and up to 80% higher scores than non-musical children. Dr. Fujioka, Baycrest's Rotman Research Institutes has found that musical training can improve the IQ of school-aged children.

Miss Karri created KinderBach when she was looking for a music program for her young children. She started teaching other children and eventually had 150 students. To keep everyone up with their class she would record the session so they could work on them at home. She even had some kids taking lessons only via VHS. After moving she didn't want to start up another studio so her & her husband decided they would offer piano lessons on video. She used her artistic skills to improve the videos & KinderBach was born.

Members of the TOS Review Crew have been using KinderBach online & the iPad app. Sail over to the Crew Blog to read what others think about it. 
Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I received a 6 month subscription to KinderBach to use with my children  free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
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