Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


READS from EGM Educational Systems, LLC: TOS Review

As part of the Review Crew for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, I got to review the READS Parent/Child Reading Comprehension System from EGM Educational Systems, LLC. Sterling (age 5, doing Kindergarten and 1st grade work) has primarily been using it, but it was written for grades 1-4 and I’ve had fun using it with all three of my older kids in 3rd and 4th grades too. READS stands for Really Easy and Dynamic Strategy and their READS Homework Helper includes:
  • a parent’s manual
  • question cards on a metal ring
  • a reward chart
  • stickers
  • the “magic finger”
  • a reading guide strip
  • the Speedy Speller – a handbook for readers and writers
  • a plastic storage pouch

The parent’s manual explains the whole program. It was a quick and easy guide to using the READS program most effectively. The question cards contain 30 questions to ask about what your young reader has read. If you've ever gotten the shoulder shrug or the blank stare that would indicate that your dear son or daughter read but did not comprehend… these questions help a whole lot. I used these with all three of my readers and found out just how much they were learning from the words on the page they’d just “read”.

Once they are off and on their own reading, I’m rather at a loss for where their comprehension is unless I get the play by play. These cards do a great job of encouraging them to tell me the story. Getting a glimpse into how they pronounce the words they've read is helpful as well. It could help them avoid a catastrophe with a word like “ facade” in their early 20’s. Not that I speak from experience or anything. Ahem.

The reward chart and the stickers are just that. For your child who loves rewards, he’ll love these. The parent book contains suggestions for rewards when their chart is complete. The chart is left pretty open – you decide what the goal is for the week. Homework, reading… it’s easily adaptable.

The Magic Finger – easily Sterling’s favorite part. He calls it the monster’s claw. What boy wouldn't like an ugly green finger to put atop their own to point to the words they are reading? It has elementary love written all over it.


The reading guide strip is pretty cool. I’d heard of such things but never seen one. It’s a clear plastic strip that has color strips at the top and bottom so that a single line of text is visible when placed on the book. Sterling loved it – and insisted he use it every time – until he met his monsters claw. It’s been cast aside – but only for uglier fun.

The Speedy Speller has become Sterling’s favorite book. It has more than 1400 words and space to write more. He can “look it up” in his mini “dictionary” without all the stuff he can’t understand – like pronunciation and parts of speech and meanings. The back has all the states, capitals, and abbreviations, and best of all, the months, week days, and measurements and their abbreviations too. Every day in math Sterling has to write the day and date and every day he has to ask how to spell both. Now, he can look it up. Amazingly enough, what’s more work for him has given him independence and unspeakable pride at being able to do it all by himself.


Click HERE to read more reviews from the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.

READS is available HERE for $19.95.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of these materials through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and my family’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

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